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Romania's Iohannis wants to extend alert mode to fight coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Romania's President Klaus Werner Iohannis arrives for the second day of a special European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s state of alert, in place since May 15 to fight the new coronavirus outbreak, must be extended by another 30 days until the middle of August due to a spike in the number of infections, President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday.

Iohannis imposed a strict lockdown across the European Union member state in March to help rein in the disease, and replaced a “state of emergency” with a less stringent “state of alert” in May.

“The daily number of infections has exceeded 600. This is a lot ... though we won’t introduce new restrictions, of course, we cannot talk about any sort of relaxation,” he said.

The president’s proposal must be formally endorsed by his centrist government. The opposition Social Democrats have repeatedly accused the cabinet of trying to remake daily life through “fines and restrictions”.

Romania has so far recorded 34,226 cases of COVID-19 infection, of whom 22,049 have recovered and 1,952 died. Over the past 24 hours, it recorded 641 new cases.

Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Alex Richardson