Coronavirus: 62 confirmed cases in Bulgaria, pharmacies being inspected

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria is 62, crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a regular briefing at 5pm on March 16.

This is 10 more than the figure announced at the 8am briefing on Monday.

Of 95 samples tested at the Military Medical Academy, four were positive. Of 145 tested at the National Reference Laboratory, six were positive.

There are 10 patients at the Military Medical Academy, two in Pirogov emergency hospital, two at Alexandrovska Hospital, two in Gabrovo and two in Pleven. Patients from the Pulmonary Diseases Hospital had been permitted to undergo home treatment after they signed undertakings not to violate their quarantine.

Mutafchiyski said that a person confirmed to have Covid-19 had been transported from the town of Lom to Alexandrovska Hospital in Sofia. This was a gross violation of the rules and he called on prosecutors to take up the matter.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Mutafchiyski and all members of the national crisis staff have been tested, over four consecutive days, for coronavirus. All these tests were negative.

Pharmacies across Bulgaria are being inspected for compliance with the law and the regulations.

Mutafchiyski spoke out strongly against the practice of pharmacies in Bulgaria to sell antibiotics without prescription. In any case, antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections and do not work against viruses.

He lashed out at those bulk-buying quantities of Vitamin C products, pointing out that these and other such items in such large quantities for households would exceed their expiry date and end up being thrown away.

People buying unnecessary medicinal products was like those stocking up on toilet paper and was irresponsible. “How many Vitamin C tablets do you take in a year? What’s the point of buying enough for 10 years?”

In other developments related to the coronavirus situation on the afternoon of March 16, Regional Development Minister Petya Avramova said that she had instructed water supply companies to suspend the reading of household water meters, to reduce contacts between water meter readers and the public.

Sofia Airport, which at the weekend announced that only passengers would be admitted to its two terminals, said in a March 16 statement that arriving flights would be handled individually. This means that passengers from such flights would be processed in individual groups rather than the normal practice of processing passengers from different flights simultaenously.

For the convenience of passengers and to avoid crowding, the mandatory data collection form for all arrivals was being provided to airlines so that it could be distributed and completed aboard the aircraft. Arrivals are subject to mandatory temperature checks, Sofia Airport said.

Justice Minister Danail Kirilov ordered the suspension of interviews and submission of applications to acquire Bulgarian citizenship until the end of the State of Emergency. Existing appointments between March 17 and April 13 can be rescheduled after that date using the online scheduling system, the Justice Ministry said. The State of Emergency was voted by Parliament on March 13 to last a month, while the law allows Parliament to vote to extend it.

Bulgarian National Television reported that a small company that normally makes fabric items for babies was temporarily converting its production to make protective face masks for doctors and police. The company did not want to be paid for this.

On the afternoon of March 16, the municipality of Plovdiv joined Varna and Sofia in announcing that its blue zone parking would be free of charge until the end of the month.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

Useful links for factual information:

The European Commission’s page on coronavirus response.

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe’s page on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s page with updates and factfiles on new coronavirus.



The Sofia Globe staff

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