Thousands Protest against COVID-19 Restrictions in Romania

Thousands of people marched in Bucharest on Saturday (2/10) to protest the restrictions that will begin on Monday (3/10) to contain a surge in coronavirus infections.

The European nation of 19 million has seen a sharp rise in daily coronavirus cases. A month ago, the figure was about 1,000 new cases a day. On Saturday (2/10), Romania reported more than 12,500 new cases. This is the highest figure since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Demonstrators, most of them not wearing masks, gathered outside government offices. They chanted “Freedom, freedom without certificates,” and “Drop the government,” according to Reuters. A poster reads: “Green certificate = dictatorship,” the report says Associated Press (AP).

Associated Press reported that the protest was organized by the right-wing party, the Alliance for Romanian Unity (Alliance for the Unit of Romanians/AUR).

The spike in cases has overwhelmed many of the country’s hospitals. The ICU rooms were nearly full, and the protests angered some health workers.

“The situation at the hospital is very serious,” Beatrice Mahler, manager of the Marius Nasta Bucharest Institute of Pneumology, told the BBC. Associated Press. “We treat patients in the halls of the hospital. All of them are seriously ill with COVID-19.”

The new restrictions include the mandatory use of masks in public places, and shops must close by 10pm local time.

Public places, such as restaurants, cinemas and gyms, may remain open — some at half capacity — but only for visitors with COVID-19 cards. This means that they have been fully vaccinated and show evidence that they have contracted COVID-19. [vm/ft]

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