Following a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in European Union nations, Romania has revised its restrictions in the hope to combat the situation. However, the rules were met with criticism from far-right citizens. Over 5,000 protestors took to the streets of the Romanian capital Bucharest to demonstrate against the newly implemented protocols.
A large number of mask-less demonstrators marched down the streets with loud sloganeering and placards to oppose virus restrictions, the Associated Press reported. The marchers blocked traffic and honked car horns with rigorous chants of "Freedom" and "Dictatorship." The protests were carried out by the Romanian Far-right AUR Party.
As per the new COVID-related restrictions, applicable in few days, people will be required to wear masks in all public places including transit and indoor. Commercial spaces like malls and shops will be under a 10 pm curfew. Restaurants will remain open at half capacity but only with people with COVID-19 passes.
The restrictions are implemented in selective areas with six infections per 1,000 persons over a 14-day time period. As of Saturday, in Bucharest, the infection rate stood at eight per 1,000 individuals. Notably, the protests erupted after a massive fire broke out in a hospital in Romania's port city Constanta, killing seven COVID patients.
[The marchers blocked traffic and honked car horns with rigorous chants of "Freedom" and "Dictatorship." Image: AP]
The COVID-19 pandemic has stripped bare the vulnerable condition of the Romanian health care system. Mostly, all intensive care units and COVID wards are overwhelmed with patients with severe forms of COVID-19, Beatrice Mahler, hospital manager of Bucharest Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology told AP on Saturday. The recent protests have also enraged the healthcare community, who have worked day and night to ensure the safety of patients. "Believe that their right to freedom is above our right to health," Mahler added while talking to the agency.
According to the Romanian health bulletin, between September 18 and October 1, the east European country recorded over one lakh infections. On October 1, there were 10,887 cases and 169 COVID-related fatalities, which took the overall tally to 12.4 lakh cases and 37,210 deaths, respectively. On the vaccination front, among 1.02 crore rendered jabs, only 27.9% of the entire population has been completely vaccinated.