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Romania Coronavirus Winter Update: Record Cases, Partial Lockdown

Just like most of the world out there, Romania isn’t doing that well when it comes to the number of new Coronavirus cases reported daily. With new measures in place and a few months since my previous Covid-19 update, I decided it’s time for a new article.

For the very few of you who are still following my coronavirus tracker article – but also for those who look at the situation worldwide, it should be no surprise to hear that Romania started to break records in the Coronavirus department as well.

The country has passed 10,000 new infections per day on one occasion until now, on the 6th of November.

It came close afterwards, but until today, the unwanted milestone wasn’t reached again. I believe that it will today and I am honestly worried for the numbers of the coming weeks.

The problem in Romania is that until very recently – when the latest measures have been announced, very few people actually wore a mask or seemed to care.

And things weren’t extremely bad for a while. By mid October, there were around 3,000 new cases each day on average which wasn’t good but definitely not a nightmare.

However, because nobody was taking any precautions anymore, things changed really fast.

On October 23rd, we had over 5,000 new cases for the first time ever.

On October 29, over 6,400 new cases were reported.

On November 3rd, we had 7,700 new cases. 8,600 on the 4th and 9,700 on the 5th, followed by the 6th of November record so far with 10,260 new cases.

In other words, a huge jump in just a matter of days. New cases doubled in only a couple of weeks.

It was obvious that new measures had to be taken. Many (including myself) claim that they came too late.

The Winter “Partial Lockdown” in Romania

Starting Monday, November 9th, a bunch of measures came into play – similar to the measures that other countries took to combat the spread of the virus. These include:

  • Mask wearing is mandatory everywhere, no matter if you are outside or inside. (They also mention that you have to wear it in such a way that it covers your nose and mouth – most people who wore it, wore it on the chin before this)
  • People are not allowed outside their homes between 11 PM – 5 AM (unless they have valid reasons – like work or emergencies and if they do, they must have papers to prove it).
  • All schools switched to the online learning mode.
  • All businesses are encouraged to allow their employees to work from home
  • All reunions and parties of any kind are forbidden, no matter if they take place inside or outside

You can read more about all the measures taken (in Romanian language) here.

Apart from these measures, they tried to close all peasant markets in the country – that’s the place where crowds are gathering like crazy, especially older people. And, of course, they don’t wear their masks right.

But there was a huge wave of protests and they decided against closing them but implemented some stricter measures.

Regarding restaurants, I have to admit that I haven’t been to one for several months now. I did a bit of research, but I couldn’t find any exact data. But I believe that they are still allowed to operate at the moment, but only at 30% of capacity (inside) and with distance keeping outside. You can also order takeaway at any time (including during 11PM-5AM).

How’s the overall situation in Romania

coronavirus in romania November

Things are obviously not good. Restaurants and clubs and all businesses that required public interaction and participation are definitely hit hard by this.

Many are starting to help each other, promoting each other’s food and encouraging their customers to order online. This is what actually makes them get past this.

However, while there were no restrictions, most restaurants operated at full capacity (based on the new laws). Despite my personal worry to eat in such restaurants, most people have nothing against visiting them and there are no reports that they caused any real outbreaks.

But when I see restaurant staff not wearing gloves and especially masks (or wearing them on their chin), I have no desire to give it a try. I am really sorry about my favorite restaurants but as long as they’re not doing their bit (wearing a mask), I can’t do mine to support them.

I might be exaggerating and we definitely miss eating out (or even ordering food), but we’ve always been the extra cautious kind. No point in not eating out when there were 1,000 daily cases but acting like it’s nothing when we have 10,000.

However, I have noticed that starting Monday when the new restrictions applied (and even a few days before), more and more people were wearing masks.

That’s what you get when the cases grow so quickly (and so do the number of deaths, but I don’t really like to talk about that).

Today, I can say that probably 95% of the people I see are wearing masks and, most surprisingly, probably 90% of those are wearing them correctly.

In Romania, before this week, everybody seemed to believe that kids can’t wear masks. Well, guess what? They are now wearing masks and have no problems. This is a good thing.

Our son always wore a mask since this pandemic started. He never complained, he never had any problems with that. It took some time for him to learn not to touch it every two seconds but it wasn’t that bad.

People generally try to find excuses for things they are not really comfortable with. I understand that, but sometimes we must do things we don’t really enjoy in order to stay healthy and have a chance to return to normal sooner rather than later.

I do believe that Romania is just now starting to be badly affected by the virus. I also believe that this winter will be a miserable one and by the end of December, we will have some really bad days.

However, even though a bit late, the measures imposed by the government seem to be accepted (even though reluctantly so) by most people. Seeing masks out there tells me that the numbers will at least flatten. Hopefully, they will go down.

The medical system is already complaining that they’re overwhelmed. Some local hospitals are complaining that they no longer have the medication required for the treatment of the sick.

Just the other day, I read that in one of our larger cities (can’t remember which right now) six people died because there was no room for them in the ICU units. The hospital claimed that they already had other major, terminal illnesses… but still. Doctors are warning that the time they’ll have to start triage might be closer than we’d like it to be.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the fact that the authorities are reluctant to take some serious measures. There are very important elections coming on December 6th and they don’t want to upset their electorate.

Probably I am in the minority here with those who want to see action taken – because they do upset me with their lack of action.

wearing mask and gloves
I always wear a mask (and gloves when I go shopping)

Either way, politicians worldwide are in a tough spot right now: no matter what they do, there will be a side that will be heavily disappointed. I personally believe that since that’s the case anyway, they should do the right thing and try to curb the spread… but there are other things to consider.

It’s easy for me to say: just close the restaurants and shops and everything… but there are people who work there and depend on those restaurants and shops to be open in order to live.

So I can understand them. I can understand that they’re upset and worried about their jobs, about their quality of life. It’s a very tough situation and many people are in a really tight spot.

Businesses are shutting down like crazy. People are getting anxious. People are getting angry. I can’t claim that I have solutions. I don’t want to be in the shoes of those leading the country at the moment, that’s a fact.

But I do believe that if people were a bit more careful and played their part: wear a mask, wash their hands, keep the distance for a while, things won’t be that bad.

Because if the hospitals will become overcrowded, fatalities will increase and the entire system risks to collapse. This is what I worry the most about: the moment when they say: “there’s just no more room for anybody”.

Hopefully that will never happen. The signs that Romanians are starting to take some measures are here, fortunately.

But things are far from over. And even though Romania is not bad (on paper, at least) like other countries out there and if you look out of the window, life seems to be running normally… things are bad and I believe that the next few weeks they’ll get worse.

But at least there is hope, New measures are taken. A vaccine is coming sooner rather than later. Romania (like the entire world) will go through this as well… although I think we can’t estimate the cost yet.

Stay safe wherever you are and try to take care of yourself the best that you can!

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6 Comments

  1. Hey Calin:
    I know, it really sucks, doesn’t it?!
    Does the government provide any relief for the people whose
    businesses have closed?
    (Can’t seem to be able to happen in the USA. I won’t go into detail,
    as it ain’t pretty.;-))
    You’re better protected than I, as I haven’t gotten into the gloves, yet.
    (You do look really po’d, in the picture, though.)
    I know it’s crazy, but we’ll probably be seeing more of these types of
    viruses, as the environment is changing for the worse. I figure I’ll do the
    mask thing for as long I am in public. (I remember seeing people of
    Asian backgrounds wearing masks before the pandemic, and wondering
    WTF! I think they knew something was about to happen, and they got a head
    start–smart folk!)
    Well, it’s the same all over, so we’ll just have to be smart, and make sure we
    all get vaccinated as soon as is practicable.
    Stay well!
    ~Teil

    1. Hello Teil! The government is not providing anything for the closed businesses as far as I know, but they have taken various measures to help businesses and people go through this easier. However, this is obviously not sustainable. At least they are doing their best 🙂

      I also have a feeling that the Asian countries seem to be doing better than the rest of the world simply because they were used to wearing masks – it took us longer to get there (and we’re still far from getting used to it). I can’t say that a future of constant mask wearing really sounds like a dream future, but I think that for now it’s best to wear it. Stay safe!

      1. Calin:
        So very sorry about the hospital fire in Piatra-Neamƫ!
        It’s as if God was NOT there looking after those poor folk.
        Stay safe, too!
        ~Teil

  2. I think that this virus is extremely exaggerated and a perfect excuse from the government to impose draconian restrictions on the people.

    Ludovic Orban even admitted that they count everyone who dies while testing positive as a covid death. It doesn’t matter if you have terminal cancer, a heart attack or get hit by a truck, if you test positive, it is counted as a covid death. They also do this in the US, a man who hit his head and died was labeled as a covid victim just because he tested positive, even though the virus had nothing to do with his death.

    I will also note that 81% of covid deaths in Canada took place in nursing homes. While this is unfortunate and I do feel bad for them, it is a fact that there health deteriorated to a point that they cannot take care of themselves and the regular flu and other minor illnesses does have the potential to kill them.

    For everyone else the death rates are very low. There is no reason to have all these oppressive restrictions and to lock down healthy people who would quickly and easily recover. Most people have mild to moderate symptoms and don’t even need to go to the hospital. Only people who are vulnerable should stay at home and they should be supported.

    I also wonder why the government insists on closing outdoor markets taking away the income from regular hardworking people, while in the mean time allowing mega corporations to operate unaffected. If the virus is so bad, why do they allow elections to continue to take place on December 6? Probably because the government knows that they will get even more power after this election.

    1. The main reason for these draconian measures is exactly what you said: protecting the ones that are weak. We are human and we should fight to the last drop of energy for the well being of ALL people, no matter how sick, old or whatever they are.

      Yes, the vast majority of people won’t show symptoms and will get past it rather quickly but this is still a young virus and little is known about it (like potential long lasting effects). I personally believe that being extra cautious is the best approach here until the scientists have enough data.

      Definitely, the measures taken are not equal. Money, unfortunately, plays a major role in the decisions made and not all of them are taken for the well being of the majority and not all of them are necessarily smart or taken on time.

      And why are the elections taking place? For the same reason why they took place in other countries since the pandemic started. Power, money, influence. Not for the common folk.

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