Bulgarian government forms crisis staff against coronavirus

Bulgaria’s government has formed a crisis staff to deal with the threat from new coronavirus, it emerged at a February 24 meeting of the Cabinet security council headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.

The special meeting of the security council had been called for February 25 but was brought forward to the afternoon of February 24.

The crisis staff, to be headed by Military Medical Academy director Dr. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski, brings together chiefs from the Interior Ministry, Border Police, State Health Inspectorate, Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Health.

Borissov called on everyone returning to Bulgaria from at-risk areas to voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival.

Noting the outbreak of new coronavirus in Italy, Chief State Health Inspector Associate Professor Angel Kunchev said that because contacts between Italy and Bulgaria were much more intense than between Bulgaria and China, this made the situation more difficult.

There were monitoring devices at airports but the question now was whether to instal them at land borders too, he said.

There will be an exercise on February 25 testing the response of institutions to a theoretical outbreak of coronavirus in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria Air is cancelling its flights to and from Milan until February 27, the airline’s press service told Bulgarian National Radio.

As at February 24, there have been no confirmed cases of new coronavirus in Bulgaria.

On February 24, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev said that the cause of death of a British tourist of Chinese descent in the mountain resort of Bansko this past weekend was a heart attack. Preliminary results of an autopsy had shown this, while laboratory tests had established that the deceased had not been infected with coronavirus.

Ananiev said that the necessary organisation had been set up in Bulgaria to respond to the possible arrival of new coronavirus in the country.

Medical personnel had been provided with protective equipment and clothing.

On a daily basis, the Ministry of Health receives information on all citizens arriving in Bulgaria from areas with confirmed cases of the Covid-19 new coronavirus. All of them are treated with special care by the Bulgarian authorities, Ananiev said.

Thermal tests are being conducted at airports in Bulgaria, he said.

If Covid-19 is suspected, the passenger is admitted to a hospital with facilities against infectious diseases.

Passengers not showing symptoms may undergo voluntary home quarantine under the supervision of a GP or the relevant regional health inspectorate.



The Sofia Globe staff

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