Romania reports record high coronavirus infection numbers

FILE PHOTO: Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis arrives for a European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Romania reported its highest number of daily infections with the new coronavirus in two months on Thursday, as it prepares to assess a new phase of relaxation next week.

President Klaus Iohannis ordered a strict lockdown in early March to help rein in the outbreak and replaced the state of emergency with a softer state of alert in May, that is set to run until mid-July.

The government said Romania has recorded 25,286 cases of COVID-19 infections so far, of which about 18,000 patients recovered and 1,565 died. Over the past 24 hours it recorded 460 new cases.

One third of Romania’s cases are concentrated in three cities: the capital Bucharest, the northern town of Suceava and in Transylvania’s medieval city of Brasov.

The Social Democrat opposition has accused Iohannis and his centrist government, of trying to remake daily life through “fines and restrictions,” and of manipulating virus infection data.

The government has said it has only been trying to protect Romanians from the virus and blamed the opposition for unfounded allegations. Health authorities have said people have begun to be more lax in keeping to the safety rules.

Under the state of alert, a ban on travel without official permission was lifted and restaurants with outdoor seating reopened along with swimming pools and shopping malls.