Romania revives coronavirus restrictions as hospitals struggle

Medical staff position a patient on a bed in a COVID-19 isolation room at the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. In Romania, a European Union country of around 19 million, only 35% of adults are fully inoculated against COVID-19 compared to an EU average of 74%. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Dr Petruta Filip is working 100-hour weeks at a Bucharest hospital which, like hospitals throughout Romania, is struggling under an onslaught of COVID-19 patients in a country with worryingly low vaccination rates.

The European Union country of around 19 million people has only 35 per cent of its adults fully vaccinated compared with a European Union average of 74 per cent.

It is the second-least vaccinated nation in the 27-nation bloc.

That is crippling Romania’s creaking healthcare system, which is also facing record-high death and infection numbers.

Romania has reported more than 1.5 million cases of the coronavirus, including at least 44,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

In an attempt on Friday to curb the deadly surge and relieve pressure on hospitals, authorities approved tighter restrictions set to take effect from Monday.

Vaccination certificates will be required for many day-to-day activities, such as going to the gym, the cinema or a shopping mall.

There will be a 10 pm curfew, shops will close at 9 pm, bars and clubs will close for 30 days, and schools will close for an additional week over half-term starting Monday. Masks will be mandatory for everyone in public.

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