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As many as 368 settlements in Romania exceed 3 in cumulative new COVID-19 cases per 1,000 population

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Senior emergency official with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat said on Wednesday that there were currently 368 settlements in Romania where the 14-day cumulative number of reported COVID-19 cases per 1,000 population exceeded 3, facing subsequent restrictions, according to AGERPRES.

"At the moment there are 368 settlements that have exceeded 3 per 1,000 population, and county committees have already applied the rules provided for under the government decision: a mandate to wear face masks, temporary closure of some activities, such as indoor restaurants, cinemas, switching to virtual education. (...) So, today, as against yesterday, we have an increase by 15 in the number of settlements where the 14-day cumulative number of reported COVID-19 cases per 1,000 population exceeded 3," Arafat told a government meeting.

He said of the rapid tests approved by the European Commission that 43,000 antigen tests would arrive in Romania by the beginning of next week, noting that the expected stock was one million tests.

"We plan to bring more rapid antigen tests to use, as we say on the front line, especially in emergency settings, it would help us make a quick diagnosis for symptomatic cases and differentiate them, even if some will have to be confirmed later by PCR tests. The first 43,000 tests will already arrive in the country from other funds than the national budget, in collaboration with the Red Cross, and we will introduce the strategic stockpile as well. (...) For the strategic stockpile, in the first phase, there are 43,000 tests already contracted and will arrive in Romania late this week, early next week. We have provided for one million tests in strategic stockpile," added Arafat.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said that these tests should also be used in schools, kindergartens and old people's homes.

"We should use them not only in the emergency settings, but in schools, kindergartens, when symptomatic cases appear, possibly in old people's homes, homes with people with disabilities, generally where there are major risks, in order to be able to diagnose the symptomatic, not asymptomatic patients," Orban said.

Orban added that action should also be taken related to emergency care.

"We have started to increase the ventilation capacity in the areas that are more affected. For example, in Bucharest yesterday we distributed additional ventilators to the Pantelimon Hospital, the University Hospital, the Floreasca Hospital. Moreover, we placed two advanced medical stations that allow the expansion of the patient monitoring capacity at the Pantelimon Hospital and the University Hospital. These are measures that we can replicate in other areas if required. The ventilation capacity helps us assist patients pending their admission to intensive care," said Arafat.

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