Romania makes millions from handing out coronavirus fines

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Romania has made millions in handing out strict fines over the past month to people who failed to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

Citizens of the southeastern European country must fill out an official form before they leave home explaining why they have gone out, which has to be presented with an identification card if stopped by police or military.

Anyone caught breaking these restrictions can face fines ranging from 2,000 Romanian lei (about $450) up to 20,000 (about $4,500), according to the BBC.

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In the period between March 24 and April 19, some 200,000 fines were issued, amounting to takings of $85 million. The amount was equal to the money collected in February from corporate tax, according to Romania-insider.com.

Romanian policemen stand at a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance of the town of Tandarei, where a complete lockdown has been in place, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic on April 4, 2020.

Romanian policemen stand at a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance of the town of Tandarei, where a complete lockdown has been in place, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic on April 4, 2020. (AFP/Getty)

Robert Negoita, mayor of Bucharest’s Sector Three, was fined the equivalent of $2,200 when he was caught cycling in a public park, which was closed.

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As of Wednesday morning, Romania has had 9,242 confirmed covid-19 cases, with 507 deaths, according to a tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

A state of emergency was first imposed on the country of 20 million on March 16, and was recently extended to the middle of May.

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Last month, Cosmin Andreica, leader of the policemen’s union Europol told Digi24.ro that Romanians were being very creative when it came to using loopholes in leaving their house.

Romanians are allowed out to walk their pets, but in this case, Andreica explained: “We’ve had situations where citizens were holding a fish in the bag and they said they had taken their pet out for a walk. It's a real story. Or we’ve had a situation where someone took the cat for a ride 30 kilometers from home, on the back seat of the car.”