Romania Coronavirus Patients Discharge Themselves After Court Ruling Against Involuntary Hospitalizations
Hundreds of Romanian coronavirus patients have discharged themselves from hospital following a court ruling against mandatory hospitalisation as the country on Thursday grappled with a surge in infections.
A total of 624 patients, who tested positive for the virus, had asked to leave hospital and now risked transmitting the disease in their communities, Health Minister Nelu Tataru told a private TV channel late Wednesday.
In addition, more than half of 50,000 people, undergoing mandatory self-isolation after returning from abroad, have left their homes in defiance of doctors’ recommendations, Tataru said.
His announcements come as Romania, one of the EU’s poorest members, reported 614 new infections on Thursday, the biggest daily increase since the pandemic started.
The total number of infections in the country of some 20 million people reached 30,789, while 1,834 people have died.
Romania had so far escaped the brunt of the health crisis while enforcing a two-months lockdown until mid-May and strict mandatory quarantine rules.
But in a decision, which came into force last week, the Constitutional Court ruled that hospitalising and quarantining people without or with just mild COVID-19 symptoms violated fundamental rights and so could not be imposed by a government decree.
Trying to reverse the consequences of the court ruling, the liberal government has proposed new legislation to more clearly spell out when people must be hospitalised or quarantine themselves at home.
Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the legislation later Thursday.
The social democratic opposition, which has criticised the government’s management of the health crisis and called for a faster easing of lockdown, has tabled several amendments, which would make patients’ consent compulsory before they are hospitalised or ordered to self-quarantine.
Officials have warned that another nationwide lockdown was on the table if the numbers of infections continued to surge.
“It’s only normal for us to want our normal life back. Unfortunately this is not yet possible”, President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday in a press statement.