Romania COVID cases nearly double in a week

FILE PHOTO: COVID-19 patients receive treatment in Giurgiu County Emergency Hospital
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BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The number of new COVID-19 infections in Romania nearly doubled over the last week, with a peak of 10,000 daily cases expected in mid-August, Health Minister Alexandru Rafila said on Monday.

Romania is the European Union's second-least vaccinated state, with just over 42% of the population fully inoculated amid distrust of state institutions and poor vaccine education.

The number of new infections approached 8,000 over the last week, compared with 3,974 new cases in the previous week, data showed, but the number of hospitalisations and deaths remained low.

Rafila said Romania could return to reporting daily cases as opposed to weekly numbers if infections kept rising sharply. The country lifted pandemic restrictions in March.

At the height of the pandemic in late 2021, Romania topped global lists of coronavirus deaths per million. The pandemic has killed 65,755 people in the country of 20 million.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Andrew Heavens)