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Deputy PM Barna: President Iohannis asked us to support Health Ministry, Minister Voiculescu

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Dan Barna

Deputy Prime Minister Dan Barna said that during the meeting this Wednesday at the Cotroceni Palace, President Klaus Iohannis emphasized the importance of the Health Ministry and Minister Vlad Voiculescu getting full support in the context of the measures that need to be taken against the pandemic.

"Of course there may be various points of view on individual subjects, because that's the specific of a ruling coalition. There are various points of view, we debate them and we always make the decision we consider to be the wisest at that moment. This is actually the background for the discussion we had yesterday at Cotroceni with the President, with Prime Minister Citu, with the leaders of the other coalition parties, where the President was very clear: the Health Ministry must get support, he asked us to back [Health Minister] Vlad Voiculescu precisely because the pandemic and the anti-COVID fight are at the top of Romania's current social agenda. Therefore, in this context, the government and the coalition are closing ranks behind this very clear message: Romania needs the citizens' support and understanding that the vaccine is the necessary solution, and until then, distancing measures (...) remain necessary and stay in place," Barna told private broadcaster Digi 24 on Thursday.

Asked what his answer will be if, following the job performance assessment, Premier Florin Citu will consider that the Health Minister should be replaced, Barna said that such a possibility was not discussed within the coalition.

He also pointed out that the Health Minister has "very consistently" communicated on the subjects on the public agenda, and that the "scandals" reported by the media are actually non-existent.

According to him, the request that the Health Ministry should present a weekly activity report in the perspective of preparations for a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is normal.

"During yesterday's government discussion, in the broader context where all the activities related to the vaccination rollout should be known for the message to reach the citizens in the best possible way, the Prime Minister requested from the Health Minister a regular report and planning, for the next period, of all the activities related to the pandemic. We agreed on this - I am myself engaged in the coordination of this activity - and we agreed that the Health Ministry should hold a weekly press conference, precisely for making the information about the Ministry's pandemic-fighting activities as accessible as possible to the media and to the citizens," Barna explained.

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