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HealthMin: We estimate an increase of COVID-19 infection rate in Romania

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The Minister of Health, Ioana Mihaila, declared on Tuesday that the infection rate with the novel coronavirus is estimated to rise in Romania as well and highlighted that if a sufficient vaccination coverage would exist, there would be no patients with severe forms.

"We cannot have an exact date when the fourth wave will appear or if the peak will be reached, but looking at what happened in other countries - for example in the United Kingdom there are approximately 45,000 new infections per day - given that the infection incidence with the Delta strain is rising in our country, yes, we estimate an increase of infection rates in Romania, too," Mihaila said in Parliament, after taking part in a coalition's reunion.

She highlighted the importance of an ample vaccination coverage.

"At this moment we are expecting the recommendations of the ECDC (European Center for Disease Control) European Society regarding the inoculation of the third dose, but what we know for certain is that vaccinating with the full dose, two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson&Johnson ensures protection against severe cases and against the mortality risk. AstraZeneca too (...) If we have an ample vaccination coverage, even if we have a lot of cases of new infections, these patients will not have severe forms and will not die from infection. (...) An adequate coverage means that vaccination rate which allows us to have very few infections and very few casualties," the Minister of Health explained.

Ioana Mihaila said that she took part in the coalition's sitting with the purpose of discussing new possible reaction measures in front of the risk of the fourth wave of the pandemic.

 

Head of the National COVID Vaccination Coordination Committee (CNCAV), doctor Valeriu Gheorghita, declared on Tuesday that the number of COVID cases recorded in week 28 (July 11-17) was by 38.9 percent higher than in the previous week, emphasizing that there is a slight rising trend in the number of infections in the next period.

"The estimates for the basic reproduction rate show us that this number is currently around 1, even 1.1, but there is a slight rising tendency in the number of cases in the next period, which is of course very important and epidemiological monitoring remains decisive for the next period," Valeriu Gheorghita explained at the Victoria Palace of Government.

He specified that the average number of cases in Romania in week 28 was 56.6, as to 40.7 in week 27.

Gheorghita also spoke about the prevalence of variants of concern at the moment, stating that "101 strains of Delta viral variants have been confirmed, which represents 6 percent" of the total variants of concern diagnosed following sequencing, according to the weekly report presented by the National Public Health Institute.

"As many as 2,415 samples have been sequenced until week 28 included and viral variants of concern have been identified in 75 percent of the cases. Of the 1,817 viral variants of concern, 101 are Delta variants, which accounts for 6 percent of the variants of concern in Romania, by 1 percent more than in the previous week," Gheorghita explained.

He also mentioned that 54 percent of the Delta infection cases are in 23 outbreaks, five more than in week 27 - of which 17 are family outbreaks and six are community outbreaks.

"In 34 percent of the identified Delta cases, no epidemiological link was found to the travel history or contact with persons known to have been infected with the Delta variant, which, of course, is an important factor in community transmission, even if data available so far does not support a nationwide community transmission. Also, eight of the 101 confirmed Delta cases were in vaccinees (six of whom with a complete two-dose scheme), representing 8 percent of the total. Basically, 6 percent of the 101 confirmed Delta infection cases were in fully vaccinated people," Gheorghita explained.

The head of Romania's vaccination program mentioned that there were also four deaths caused by infection with the Delta variant, the latest being a 90-year old woman from Iasi County, not vaccinated and with underlying medical conditions.

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