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Romanian health care workers demonstrate in a 'protest of exhaustion'

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By Laura Sanders  & AP
Health care workers demonstrate in "eshaustion protest" in Romania's capital.
Health care workers demonstrate in "eshaustion protest" in Romania's capital.   -   Copyright  Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.   -  
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Health care workers took part in a "protest of exhaustion" outside the Romanian government's headquarters in Bucharest on Tuesday. Demonstrators slammed politicians for not living up to their promises of helping front line staff during the pandemic.

"The government promised financial aid and that promise has not been respected," said Leonard Barascu, president of the Sanitas trade union.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis had promised a 500 euro (600 US dollar) bonus to medical staff working with coronavirus patients.

Not everyone received this, sparking anger among health workers.

The protesters carried placards reading "We're exhausted by staff shortages" and "We're exhausted by a lack of respect."

"At the beginning (of the pandemic) we were heroes," said Raluca Olaru, a medic and laboratory chief. "Now we're not that anymore ... Instead of getting respect because we work so much, we get sick, we also suffer."

"Instead of getting respect because we work so much, we get sick, we also suffer."
Raluca Olaru
Medic and laboratory chief

Trade union leaders said workers in the health care system are exhausted after months of fighting the pandemic.

Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Romanian health care workers demand better PPE and more staff during protest in Bucharest.Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

It was only last Thursday (5 November) that health care workers were outside the same government buildings demanding better PPE and provision of more staff in order to combat the virus.

Romania introduced tighter restrictions this week after cases soared in the country. On Tuesday, 7,304 new infections were recorded and the country's intensive care units had 1093 patients.