Romania Prepares for Restrictions as Covid Surges in East Europe
(Bloomberg) -- Romania’s two largest cities are gearing up for new restrictions, including a night-time curfew, after a surge of new Covid-19 cases across eastern Europe over the past two weeks.
With the infection rate exceeding six cases per 1,000 people in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca and reports of hospitals filling with coronavirus patients again, authorities are also preparing to tie access to restaurants to vaccination status and ban large events. Schools may be closed on a case-by-case basis as the government tries to limit online schooling because of worsening exam results last year.
The delta variant is spreading quickly across Europe’s east, where countries are lagging their richer western neighbors in vaccinations. Ukraine on Wednesday said that new hospitalizations more than doubled in a day to the highest total since May. Poland reported the biggest daily increase in infections in four months.
Romania, where the government is on the brink of collapse, has fully vaccinated 27.5% of its 19 million people, the second-lowest rate in the European Union, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It had the highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday. The government is struggling to boost the number of intensive care beds and direct more resources for already-scarce medication.
“This situation is unacceptable considering that we have the solution to limit the negative effects of this pandemic: the vaccine,” said Valeriu Gheorghita, the head of the government’s vaccination task force. “Under no circumstance should we get used to living in these conditions, with hospitals overwhelmed by sick patients, intensive-care units full and people dying everyday because of the virus. We all have to make an effort to control this pandemic.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.