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BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania reported 16,760 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, more than double on the day and the biggest single-day rise since October, as the Omicron coronavirus variant takes hold.
Romania is the European Union's second-least vaccinated state, with just under 41% of the population fully inoculated amid distrust of state institutions and poor vaccine education.
The number of new infections was approaching a record high of 18,863 daily cases seen in October, official data showed, but hospitalisations were still relatively low. Sixty-five people died of the virus within the last 24 hours.
Romania has shortened the isolation and quarantine periods for COVID-19 positive people, their direct contacts and untested travellers from high-risk countries to varying lengths depending on whether they are vaccinated.
The three parties in the ruling coalition have yet to agree on whether to send a new bill to parliament mandating a COVID-19 health pass to boost vaccine uptake.
At the height of the fourth wave in late October and November, Romania topped global lists of new coronavirus deaths per million. The pandemic has killed nearly 60,000 people in the country of 20 million people.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Ed Osmond)