Romania: fire in a Covid intensive care unit

A fire broke out in the intensive care unit of a hospital in the city of Piatra Neamţ in northeastern Romania on Saturday. Ten Covid-19 patients died and seven people suffered severe burns, including a doctor on duty in the ward. A short circuit is suspected to have caused the blaze. Romania's media are appalled and examine the causes.

Open/close all quotes
Digi 24 (RO) /

No improvising when it comes to health

All the fires of the past have changed nothing, journalist Adrian Cojocaru writes in Digi24:

“In a dysfunctional country like Romania nothing is more sick than the healthcare system. The very system we must rely on to escape death. ... Yet precisely in this system where we should never hear the words: 'We'll muddle through somehow', people are improvising all down the line. ... Not one of our recent tragedies - regardless of how overwhelming and painful they were - has resulted in any fundamental changes in the system! Every time, we start all over again with the same problems, the same tricks, the same bribes, the same improvised electrical circuits and the same tonnes of red tape that obscure everything once the flames have been put out.”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Just like in Ceaușescu's day

The tragedy comes as no surprise, journalist Cristian Ștefănescu explains on the Romanian service of german broadcaster Deutsche Welle:

“The hospitals were built in the middle of the last century to provide medical care of a type that is completely outdated today. There are huge deficiencies in the infrastructure. The power grids are antiquated, and date back to a time when they only had to supply electricity to primitive devices. ... They survived the entire Ceaușescu period without any money being spent to modernise them. And things went on like that after 1989. Since then, not a single new state hospital has been built, and those that have been modernised are still not in keeping with Western standards.”