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Romania sees coronavirus spike to 3,000 new daily cases

BUCHAREST, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The number of new coronavirus infections in Romania rose by a record 2,958 in the past 24 hours, the government said on Wednesday as new restrictions were introduced in the capital Bucharest and other cities.

Romania has been reporting more than 2,000 new cases daily almost every day for the past week, bringing the total confirmed cases to 142,570 since late February.

While 111,564 people have recovered, 5,203 people have died, the highest fatality rate in the eastern part of the European Union.

The government will close theatres, cinemas, indoor restaurants, bars and gaming halls in Bucharest from Wednesday, with similar measures in other cities. Travellers from 49 high-risk countries must self-isolate for 10-14 days upon arrival.

Police will intensify controls to ensure people are wearing masks, which are mandatory in public transport, indoor public areas and outdoor markets and other crowded areas.

“Most citizens are following these restrictions, which are not convenient for anyone,” Bucharest prefect Gheorghe Cojanu told reporters. “But we have noticed a lot of indifference from some citizens.”

Romania’s hospitality industry will protest the shutdowns outside government headquarters later on Wednesday.

Calin Ile of the Romanian hotel federation said a survey showed that without government compensation, the hospitality industry could lose 40% of jobs and 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in revenue.

Health Minister Nelu Tataru said that while restaurants were not a source of outbreaks, they could help spread infections, although there was no public data about community spreading.

“We have events that are not entirely supervised and where certain rules are not respected, and we have public transport where rules are not respected, these are the infectious areas,” Tataru said. “These restrictions which were reintroduced will produce effects in 10-14 days.” (Reporting by Luiza Ilie Editing by Giles Elgood)

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