Bulgaria’s crisis staff announces new set of measures against Covid-19

New measures against Covid-19, varying according to whether an area has seen confirmed cases or not, were announced by national crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski on March 11.

The announcement followed an emergency meeting of the Cabinet security council, convened by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.

As of the morning of March 11, there are six confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria – two in Gabrovo, two in Pleven and two in capital city Sofia.

In areas where there have not been confirmed cases of coronavirus, the measures include enhanced hygiene and anti-epidemic measures at schools and kindergartens. Pupils and staff showing flu-like symptoms should be sent home and put in contact with a GP immediately.

Cultural and other large-scale indoor events should be limited to no more than 250 people, who stay a metre apart from each other. Similarly, indoor sports events should be limited to 250 people with a metre distance between them.

Local authorities have leeway to apply stricter or softer measures, but not to avoid the basic intentions of the recommended steps.

In areas where cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, visits to schools and kindergartens will not be allowed. If a case of coronavirus is confirmed, classes at and visits to the school must be suspended for 14 days.

All large-scale public events are banned in areas where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed. Outsiders may not visit social service homes for the elderly and for children.

All sports events are suspended. If they cannot be postponed, they must be held without the public present.

Borissov said that the global peak of new coronavirus was expected to be in September.

He said that the production in Bulgaria of protective clothing had begun. Borissov invited the media to witness the testing of the clothing.

Borissov reiterated his call for the public not to panic, warning against the risk that panic would pose to Bulgaria’s economy.

He said that it would be left up to mayors to decide whether to allow cinemas and theatres to be open, tickets should be sold on-site and after every performance, the venue should be disinfected.

At schools, every class should start with information about coronavirus and education for the children about personal hygiene.

He said that the public should not panic because warehouses of large chain stores are stocked with products sufficient for 30 to 40 days in advance. “There is food, there is water,” Borissov said.

On March 11, Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said that that morning, the first lorry carrying personal protective equipment from Turkey, which Borissov had arranged during his visit to Ankara, had arrived.

As a result of this delivery, Bulgaria would receive 50 000 safety masks, 100 000 safety goggles, 100 000 items of personal protective clothing and 150 000 protective headgear.

Preliminary estimates were that this amount would meet the needs of hospitals and other facilities for about a month.

Deputy Health Minister Boiko Penkov, who was at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint for the arrival of the items from Turkey, said that it would be taken to the Health Ministry from which, via regional health inspectorates, it would be provided to medical establishments, emergency medical centres and other facilities.

“We need to cover the needs of frontline people – emergency units, border checkpoints, the police, the National Revenue Agency, and so on,” he said. “It is very important that we protect our doctors and nurses.”

At a briefing at 8am on March 11, Mutafchiyski called on the media not to besiege hospitals where there were confirmed Covid-19 cases, because they would be putting themselves at risk and preventing doctors from doing their job properly.



The Sofia Globe staff

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