Around 3,000 anti-vaccination protesters from across Romania have gathered in front of the parliament building in Bucharest as authorities announced new restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
BUCHAREST, Romania – Around 3,000 anti-vaccination protesters from across Romania gathered in front of the parliament building in Bucharest on Sunday as authorities announced new restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
Less than six weeks have passed since COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in Bucharest, but the rise in infections has prompted authorities to re-impose stricter restrictions for a 14-day period starting Monday.
The restrictions will cause bars, restaurants, theaters, gaming venues and cafes to close indoor spaces as the capital’s infection rate rose above three cases per 1,000 residents over a continuous 14-day period, effectively entering in a “red scenario”, used by the authorities. as a threshold to manage both the restrictions and the spread of the virus.
Many protesters brandished Romanian flags and chanted “freedom” and “down with the mask.” A large sign read: “Say no to forced vaccination.”
The rally was attended by George Simion, leader of Romania’s far-right AUR party, which has spoken out against mandatory vaccination.
The new restrictions will push many schools in the capital back to online learning, while daycare centers, elementary school students and eighth to 12th grade students will continue to have physical assistance, in some cases operating only at half capacity.
“We’ve been through this and survived,” Andreea Beca, owner of a small bistro in central Bucharest, told The Associated Press.
“We also realized that maintaining the quality of our food is the most important criterion for our customers and that they are ordering online; We can only hope for the best, ”he said.
At the same time, tougher measures will be imposed in the western city of Timisoara, a city of more than 400,000 inhabitants, which will go into quarantine after its infection rate exceeds seven per 1,000 inhabitants.
In quarantined areas, residents are required to complete an official form stating the reason for their movement. Across the country, there is a lightly enforced curfew between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Many ex-communist Eastern European countries are battling vaccine skepticism as immunization campaigns are slowly rolling out across Europe.
According to a government website, more than 1.7 million people in Romania have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Romania, a country of more than 19 million people, has recorded more than 828,000 COVID-19 infections and 20,900 people have died.