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INSP reports 42,121 acute respiratory infection cases in the week Oct 5 – 11

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A total of 42,121 acute respiratory infection cases (clinical flu, upper respiratory infections and pneumonia) were registered last week nationwide, by 8.7 percent more compared to the week before, the National Public Health Institute (INSP) announced on Thursday.

The total number of acute respiratory infection cases (clinical flu, upper respiratory infections and pneumonia) in the week October 5 - 11 was 42,121, by 50.2 percent lower than the number recorded in the same week of the previous season (84,564) and 8.7 percent higher compared to that of the week before, INSP said.

6 cases of clinical influenza were reported nationwide in the week of October 5-11, as to 12 cases in the 41st week of 2019. INSP mentions that the statistics do not include Bucharest data. As of October 11, as many as 146,537 people from at-risk groups had taken the flu shot, INSP reports.

 

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The next two weeks will be decisive as regards the timeliness of holding the parliamentary election in December, president of the Romanian Microbiology Society, Professor, PhD, Alexandru Rafila said on Thursday.

Asked if he considers it is safe to organize the ballot on December 6, Rafila said it advisable to first stop the rise in coronavirus infections.

"I don't know what the situation will look like on December 6. From my point of view, the next two weeks will be decisive, because we are on an upward trend and if growth continues at a fast pace, if there's an important number of patients who are admitted to intensive care and a considerable death rate, then of course the entire political class should reconsider the timeliness of the election. I cannot make predictions at this time, but obviously we are in a very serious situation, it must be taken as such. Let those responsible act accordingly," Rafila told a press conference at the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party.

"(...) I don't even want to think about a scenario where people queue for admission to intensive care. Intensive care patients cannot wait. (...) I hope, and we all hope, that the best option would be to stop the increase in infections, to see the number of cases and admissions to intensive care going down, and then organize elections. This would be the ideal situation for everyone and I think we should take responsibility for this," said Professor Rafila.

He underscored that the effects of the restrictions are not visible "overnight."

"Regrettably, the decisions and measures in Romania are reactive and not predictive. (...) It's good to always take the right measure at the right time," he opined, pointing out that Romania is in the same situation as the entire world.

He considers that some of the elements that caused the increase in the number of infections are the massive returns from holidays at the beginning of September and the start of the school year on September 14.

"Personally I don't believe that the [local] elections, the process itself has led to the pile-up of cases, but there was the election campaign, people came together in meetings. All the political parties had post-election celebrations. All these elements generate a certain number of new cases. And then what's the philosophy? If we are to hold elections, we must think very seriously about the consequences before and after the ballot. (...) One important thing is for people to turn out in as high as possible numbers for the election to be relevant for democracy and for the next four years," the doctor argued.

He also advised against turning the pandemic subject political. "This is confusing, especially for the population, and when action is taken people don't know what to think anymore and usually prefer the easiest measures. It's natural. I think that we should try to avoid political debates, when we all have a common interest to pursue - solving a public health problem," Rafila argued.

He also spoke out against mass testing.

"Mass testing is only done in China. The results are questionable. (...) The so-called mass testing means testing all the contacts of the diagnosed persons, but this is only possible if we have a health structure capable of doing all epidemiological investigations, identifying contacts, contacting them," Professor Rafila concluded.

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