BUCHAREST (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus infections in Romania rose by a record amount for a second consecutive day, the government said on Thursday, and local authorities said they could place dozens of small towns under localized quarantine.
Other countries in southern Europe and the Balkans saw spikes in new cases in recent days, raising alarm with the World Health Organization.
Romania announced 1,112 new cases, taking confirmed cases to 41,275 since the pandemic reached the country in late February. Some 2,126 people have died.
The European Union member has extended a state of alert until the middle of August and several European countries have reinstated travel restrictions for Romanians.
A legislative void that enabled thousands of infected people to walk out of hospitals or not be treated at all for most of July was in part responsible for the hike. The void has since been solved through a new parliamentary bill.
Another reason was a relative lack of compliance with social distancing rules and wearing protective masks in closed spaces.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Nelu Tataru criticised attempts to make light of the pandemic and mislead people into not following the rules.
“We are going through a difficult moment. As long as we have these negationist trends, this slighting of the three-four months during which everybody followed some rules … it will remain difficult,” Tataru told reporters.
Earlier this month, the former ruling Social Democrat Party accused the government of failing to contain the pandemic.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Toby Chopra)