Ten newborn babies reportedly tested positive for the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, after they came into contact with infected medical staff in a maternity unit in Romania.
Nine of the babies have been taken home from the hospital in the western Romanian city of Timisoara for self-isolation with their parents, Romania’s Health Minister Nelu Tataru said on April 6, as he pointed to the “failures in the activities of both maternity officials and the local public health directorate (DSP).”
The country has reported a total of 5,202 COVID-19 cases, with 257 deaths, according to a tracking map from Johns Hopkins University, which collates official government data. The European Union state, which has a population of around 100,000, declared a state of emergency on March 16.
Tataru said the local DSP chief has been dismissed and that he would implement severe measures if necessary.
“The mothers tested negative, but the babies tested positive so we have to consider their contacts with medical staff,” Tataru told Antena 3 TV station on Monday.
He said none of the babies had displayed symptoms consistent with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
One of the mothers of an infected newborn said she felt as though she was “living in a horror film” as she described the lack of personal protective equipment in the facility.
“The staff were not wearing masks,” she told the local pressalert.ro website. She said some of the mothers had heard through unofficial channels that there had been a confirmed COVID-19 case in the hospital.
“On Thursday the hospital was disinfected with us inside,” she said.
The maternity unit was reportedly placed under quarantine on March 31, but the local DSP ordered it be reopened the next day, insisting that there was “no risk of infection for patients or doctors,” AFP reported.
A total of 13 members of staff at the facility had reportedly already tested positive for COVID-19.
Under measures imposed by President Klaus Iohannis to restrict movement, people are allowed to leave their homes only for work, with a signed note from their employers, and to buy groceries. The elderly are required to stay confined at all times and the army has been deployed to supplement police personnel.
Tataru has blamed the spread of the virus on poor management and people not respecting self-isolation rules. Roughly 700 of those infected in the country are health care workers.
Reuters contributed to this report.