The Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, gave an interview about Romania blocking a shipment of masks and other emergency medical equipment yesterday, blasting (🇷🇴) Romania for “only thinking of itself.”
Furthermore, it turns out that the masks had been sold to an Italian company (as opposed to the government), so Romania’s blockage of their delivery is a violation of international laws related to commerce. Minister Di Maio also threatened to later sue Romania in the World Trade Organization for this.
Meanwhile, Romania’s currency is once again in the toilet (almost 5 lei for one euro), a coronavirus patient in Cluj intentionally spit on doctors (🇷🇴), and the government passed yet another of its infamous emergency measures to make violating coronavirus restrictions punishable by up to 15 years (🇷🇴) in prison.
Over in the Republic of Moldova, a pilot named Sajin Eugen decided to inspire his fellow citizens by taking up his private plane to 4,000 feet to “write” Stau Acasa (“I am staying home” – a hashtag first coined in Italy) in the air.
Of course, he wasn’t using smoke or anything, so nobody could actually see the words – it was only his flight track that actually “wrote” it out. And god knows how many fucking liters of gasoline he burned to do it.
But hey, whatever.
Meanwhile, a jetliner pilot (🇲🇩) decided to fly around Chisinau in seven giant loops “for training” because all commercial flights are currently suspended.
Seriously, when will people figure out that air pollution is a major aggravator for causing death in virus patients?
Anyway, in other news, the Prime Minister, meanwhile, decided to relax restrictions (🇲🇩) for businesses selling “animal feed, seeds, and other agricultural supplies.”
Which makes sense, as 90% of Moldova’s economy is related to agriculture (the other 10% comes from handouts from foreigners).
He also said that two billion lei (roughly $112 million) has been set aside “to buy” 640,000 pairs of gloves and 250,000 masks.
But first, there has to be a public tender, and nobody knows exactly where these masks and gloves are gonna come from, except, of course, that we know they won’t come from Romania 😉
Despite my misgivings, President Krasnoselsky’s decision to shut down the border both ways (i.e. almost nobody can come in OR leave) is apparently quite popular.
I spent a good hour this morning scouring through various social media feeds, and it seems like the majority of folks here support the decision.
Last night, he appeared on state TV for a 40-minute interview (🇷🇺), and I made myself watch the whole thing.
I could write several paragraphs about it but a) I don’t want to get arrested (emergency decree and all) and b) my analysis is rather long and nuanced, and I doubt anyone wants to hear it.
What I can say, in short, is that he’s always been the “micro-manager” type, which normally works pretty well in a country as small as this one is (population just 500K), but he’s way out of his fucking depth when it comes to understanding both what is going on right now in Italy and how public health management works.
He did say, however, that we’re waiting on help from Mother Russia in the form of 5,000 tests “soon”, which really will make it a lot easier to manage the virus.
On a more personal level, one goofball decided to wear a gas mask when he went shopping at a Sheriff grocery store this morning:
Other than that, most folks here seem to be relaxing a bit.
I saw the douchebag security guard in front of one of the medical clinics here wearing a mask, but he had it down on his chin while he chit-chatted with a visitor. And several coffee shops and restaurants are only “semi-closed” in that they let in a few people at a time.
Weirdly, the buses are only running in the mornings between 5am and 10am and then from 4pm to 10pm, apparently to help people get to work and back. But they’re still plenty crowded when they are running, so I’m not quite sure what the point of keeping them offline in the afternoon is.
But in much more positive news, I do have to credit the state-run media for putting out lots of morale-boosting stories, including tips on how to stay active and healthy as well as fun memes and stuff.
A Foreign Perspective
PMR doesn’t exactly get a whole lot of tourism, but it is kind of weird knowing that, with all foreigners banned from entering the country, I’m one of the last non-locals here.
Mind you, I’m not the only one. I saw one of the African players for the Sheriff football (soccer) team today, which made me feel a little better. There’s something a little scary and overwhelming about people in masks talking to you in a language you don’t really understand (Russian), and I’ve seen a few people on the street look at me with their mouths open when they heard me speak English.
Of course, it may just be the fact that I’m feeling (physically) low that’s informing my commentary. My wife and I seem to be dealing with a low-level cold here for the past few days, and it makes it hard to really “enjoy” or make the most out of our “vacation.” It sure doesn’t help that I have 1,577 articles in my browser history that mention the word “coronavirus” either.
But, I do like to try and think positive, so I am happy that we’re here together along with our animals (they’re all quite healthy and high-energy) and that the weather is great.
There’s plenty of food (as well as everything else) in the shops, and I do love spending time down by the river just watching the water flow by, so that is helping a lot.
Until next time…