Health Ministry: Two Bulgarians being monitored for coronavirus

Health authorities in Bulgaria are closely monitoring the medical condition of two Bulgarian women who have returned from China and Thailand, respectively, because of the flu-like symptoms they are showing, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev told a news conference on January 29.

The measure was preventative in nature because of the symptoms and the need to conduct appropriate examinations against coronavirus 2019-nCoV, he said.

A working group had been set up on his orders, involving the Health Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, State Agency for National Security and other institutions, Ananiev said.

“The Ministry of Health, through regional health inspectorates, has disseminated guidance to all health care providers on how to respond to suspected coronavirus patients. A co-ordination mechanism has been set up between hospitals with infectious structures and the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Sofia,” he said.

Within a week, new thermal cameras that have been ordered will be in use at Sofia Airport Terminal 1 and the airports at Varna and Bourgas.

For the needs of the medical specialists, an order has already been made for additional specialized medical clothing, gloves and masks, he said.

“Following the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, we responded algorithmically when identifying a person from the country where the virus was spread or from one in which there were cases and signs of respiratory disease.

Chief State Health Inspector Associate Professor Angel Kunchev said: “The two cases we are talking about are not at the same level of risk – the one coming from China is under special surveillance, and today we found a metapneumatic virus in the person, which largely eliminates the possibility of the new coronavirus.

The risk regarding the person who had arrived from Thailand was seen as significantly lower. Kunchev said that both individuals were in overall good health.

The head of National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, said that two weeks ago, the state had ordered reagents to test for the new coronavirus.

They are expected to arrive by the end of this week and from the beginning of next week the National Reference Laboratory will work with them.

In addition, Bulgaria will have a new coronavirus kit within two weeks. Until then, the Bulgarian health authorities have been working on the approved protocol, examining the possible carrier of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus with genetic tests for the other six coronaviruses, as well as testing for the various flu strains.



The Sofia Globe staff

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