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Coronavirus

Romanian PM Fires Health Minister Over Handling of COVID-19

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s prime minister fired the country’s health minister Wednesday, after a series of incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic created tensions within the governing coalition.

The move came a day after Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu reportedly made changes to the criteria the government uses to determine which virus-control restrictions to impose on local areas without informing Prime Minister Florin Citu.

Citu said the leader of USR-PLUS political alliance, Dan Barna, will serve as interim health minister.

Voiculescu was appointed in December and briefly served as Romania’s health minister in 2016. He had promised to reform the nation’s strapped health care system.

“Voiculescu meant well and insured the ministry at a critical moment in time, but it’s hard to reform an ailing system in a few months, not to mention with COVID-19 at full speed,” Radu Magdin, a Bucharest-based analyst, told The Associated Press.

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