Romanian president thanks people for respecting COVID-19 restrictions: It's time to consider a relaxation plan
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis thanked the country's citizens for respecting the social distancing measures during the Easter holidays and spoke for the first time about the perspective of relaxing the restrictions.
"Dear Romanians, firstly, I want to thank you for respecting the measures imposed by the authorities during these holidays. I am very glad to see that we have all succeeded, together, in doing what we have set out to do - stay home and celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord as best we could during this pandemic," Iohannis said in a statement on Tuesday, April 21.
He also thanked the Church and the priests for helping keep people at home for the holidays, and medical personnel for treating COVID-19 patients.
At the same time, Iohannis condemned the few violent incidents during the holidays praising the firm intervention of the law enforcement forces in these cases.
"Now is the time to think about a relaxation plan when the conditions are met. A decree for the state of emergency that ends on May 15 is now in force. After May 15, if the number of infected persons decreases, if the number of deaths due to the disease decreases, if we all comply with the measures imposed by the authorities and things are going well, we will clearly be able to enter a relaxation phase," the president said, adding that the relaxation will be done in steps.
"There will be no complete relaxation at once because specialists tell us that the virus will not disappear, so we will have to continue to live with certain restrictions. However, these issues are decided on the basis of scientific and medical evidence by politicians, by the Government. These issues will be discussed in detail with specialists, with the Scientific Committee that works alongside the Ministry of Health, and those who are directly involved in managing the epidemic. These things will be brought to the public's attention by the authorities that deal specifically with these issues," Klaus Iohannis explained.
He pointed out that all public communication about the relaxation measure will come from him and members of the Government. "Under no circumstances will these measures be announced by anyone who wants to profile themselves politically or otherwise," he added.
The president then criticized a so-called relaxation plan drafted by the director of the Matei Bals Infectious Diseases Institute in Bucharest, Dr. Adrian Streinu-Cercel. The document was leaked to the media and highly debated over the weekend. The plan suggested, among others, that, while movement restrictions will be lifted, people over 65 should be quarantined and even taken away from their families for protection against COVID-19. Iohannis called this an absurd measure.
"My dears, this is not happening, it is unacceptable! We live in a free society, a society that protects itself from the epidemic. There's no way we come with such totalitarian measures!" he said, asking elderly people to remain calm. "No one comes to take you from your home, to quarantine you! No one comes to impose inhuman things on you!"
The president emphasized that the relaxation measures to be implemented after May 15 will be gradual and that activities that present low contamination risk will be resumed first. He also pointed out that, as the restrictions imposed by the authorities will be relaxed, citizens will have a greater responsibility in staying healthy and taking care of their families.
(Photo source: presidency.ro)