A steep increase in the number of Covid-19 patients is stretching Romania’s health-care system to the brink, prompting discussions about whether pandemic restrictions to be retightened to end the “apocalyptic” situation.
In the past 24 hours, more people have died of or with the coronavirus in Romania than in the entire European Union in the same period: 574.
Romania’s mortality rate of 19.01 per 1 million inhabitants was the highest in the world on Wednesday, according to the Our World in Data project.
The 14-day moving average of 859 new infections per day is also among the highest in the European Union.
President Klaus Iohannis was to meet on Wednesday evening with government leaders to decide on what actions needed to be taken to contain the outbreak.
The morgue at University Hospital in Bucharest had, at times, reached it capacity, officials said.
Bucharest physician Victoria Arama described the situation as “apocalyptic.”
Covid-19 patients were pushing at each other in hospital corridors as they fought for oxygen equipment, she was quoted in local media as saying.
There were 1,799 coronavirus patients in intensive care across the country – some in hospital corridors, shipping containers, tents and ambulances as there are only 1,668 intensive care beds. Romania has already sent 30 seriously ill patients to neighbouring Hungary.
Only 34.8 per cent of Romanians have been fully vaccinated, a figure that is among the lowest in the 27-member EU. Conspiracy theories being spread online, on television and within the Romanian Orthodox Church are considered partly responsible for the weak uptake.