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HealthMin Rafila: COVID test centers to be put back into operation, mask use recommended indoors

alexandru rafila fără mască

COVID-19 test centers will be put back into operation, accessible especially at the end of the week, Minister of Health Alexandru Rafila told a press conference on Monday, in the context in which 7,726 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were registered between June 27 and July 3, an almost double number compared to the previous week.

"What should a person with COVID symptoms do? Get tested at the family doctor. We are also putting back into operation those test centers that will be accessible to people, especially on weekends, where they can go to have a sample taken, if they have symptoms, after which they either remain under observation at the family doctor, who can prescribe them a treatment, or go to an assessment center. Or, in case of a more serious evolution, they go to the hospital," said the minister.

Rafila mentioned that the recommendations regarding the use of face masks in closed spaces, hand hygiene and the ventilation of public spaces are maintained. At the same time, he stressed that these measures are not imposed, but represent recommendations.

"Nobody imposes anything. These are just recommendations, so that we can have a quiet summer, take our holidays, and avoid the situation of not being able to go on vacation, because we or family members get sick. The use of face masks in enclosed spaces or public transport and the avoidance of congestion are already known measures, as is hand hygiene. Local authorities should consider regular sanitation of public transport. (...) We should ensure the ventilation of public spaces as it is one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission. It costs nothing, it just takes initiative and rigor," he said.

The Minister of Health added that he discussed last week with the public health directorates about a possible increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections, and on Monday a teleconference took place with the representatives of the Bucharest public hospitals, the Ambulance service, and the Public Health Directorate. The topic of discussion was to ensure the conditions for the hospitalization of infected people, including those in need of care for other conditions as well.

"This should not in any way affect access to health services for the general population," he said.

Hospital managers may require the wearing of face masks inside the units to prevent the transmission of nosocomial infections.

At the same time, according to him, the outpatient centers in the country have sufficient quantities of antivirals (Favipiravir, Molnupiravir, Remdesivir), but also monoclonal antibodies.

"I believe that a responsible and balanced approach is the key to success, and probably in the second half of August we can consider that we are overcoming this mini-wave - or wave, we will see, depending on the amplitude - of the pandemic. These are normal measures which we want to be able to take whenever there is a threat to public health," Rafila emphasized.

According to him, vaccination is still recommended for vulnerable people.

"We are also looking forward to seeing if the two vaccine producers using recombinant RNA technology can validate their products for the Omicron strain and if, indeed, these products influence transmission, because we are extremely interested in reducing transmission, so that in the autumn, Romania, together with other countries, can benefit from a new vaccine formula that will be adapted to the circulating strains," added Rafila. AGERPRES

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