A total of 10 new babies have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, despite their mothers not contracting the disease.
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According to the Minister of Health in Romania, the newborns may have allegedly contracted the virus from the healthcare staff in the maternity unit.
“The mothers tested negative, but the babies tested positive so we have to consider their contacts with medical staff,” Health Minister Nelu Tataru said in an interview with the Antena 3 TV station late on Monday.
The minister pointed to the “failures in the activities of both maternity officials and the local public health directorate (DSP)” and promised severe measures if necessary.
The local DSP chief has already been dismissed.
“For the past two days I have felt like I am living in a horror film,” one of the mothers told the local pressalert.ro website.
“The staff were not wearing masks,” she said, adding that the mothers had heard on Wednesday through unofficial channels that there was a case of coronavirus in the hospital.
“On Thursday the hospital was disinfected with us inside,” she said
The babies have no symptoms and all but one of them, together with their mothers, have gone into self-isolation at home.
The unit in the western Romanian city of Timisoara was briefly placed under quarantine on 31 March, but was reopened the next day on the orders of the local DSP.
The DSP insisted at the time that there was “no risk of infection for patients or doctors” even though 13 members of staff had already tested positive.