Romania moves to full virus lockdown enforced by army

Coronavirus: Romania moves to full virus lockdown enforced by army

Representative image. (Credit: AFP Photo)

Romania's president Klaus Iohannis announced the country will go into a full lockdown on Wednesday to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, with the army deployed to help enforce it.
"Romanians will face new restrictions," Iohannis said Tuesday in a televised address, citing the "complexity of the situation".

Romania had already introduced a state of emergency and a night-time curfew but Iohannis announced that as of Wednesday, the previous "recommendation" to citizens to stay indoors "will become an obligation based on the principle: 'We're staying at home'".

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Romanians will only be allowed to leave their houses during the day to go to work or get essential supplies. People over 65 years old -- one of the groups most at risk from complications from the virus -- are to be barred from leaving the house altogether. Police and gendarmes have been enforcing the night-time curfew since Monday evening and will now be joined by the army.

Romania reported 762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a jump of almost 200 from the previous day, with eight deaths. To make sure that the thousands of people now in isolation or quarantine will respect the rules, Klaus Iohannis said that a system of "electronic surveillance" could be introduced, without giving further details.

Under the state of emergency declared last week bars, churches and schools were closed, flights from Italy and Spain suspended and border checks toughened.