Bulgaria’s crisis staff against Covid-19: ‘If the PM can follow recommendations, so can everyone’

The air conditioning in Bulgaria’s Cabinet building is turned off and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov is warming his office with a small radiator, the head of the crisis staff against Covid-19 said, adding that if the PM could obey recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus, so could everyone.

Crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a briefing at 5pm on March 25 that 22 new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed, bringing Bulgaria’s total to 242.

This included four people who had recovered.

Of the newly-confirmed cases, 16 were in Sofia, two in Plovdiv, two in Blagoevgrad, one in Pleven and one in Sliven, which was the first in the last-mentioned town.

The reference to the central air conditioning in the Cabinet building being switched off is to a recommendation by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute to do so to prevent circulation of the virus through office and residential buildings. Bulgaria’s Parliament has done the same.

Mutafchiyski said that if the pace of coronavirus in Bulgaria continues, a reduction in cases could be expected by the end of May. “The mathematical model shows that we are heading in the right direction, though we find two out of 11 infected,” he said.

The announcement of the latest figures was among a number of developments on March 25 related to the Covid-19 situation.

Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kiril Ananiev temporarily prohibited the entry and passage through Bulgaria of lorries heading to Turkey and arriving from certain countries. The order, lifted on Wednesday afternoon, was in response to very long queues of lorries forming at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

The head of the Border Police said that as of 5pm, there were 1200 lorries waiting to pass through the Kapitan Andreevo Bulgarian-Turkish border checkpoint alone. Ananiev had withdrawn his order as negotiations were underway between the Bulgarian and Turkish interior ministers.

In a separate announcement, Bulgaria’s Customs Agency said that it had held discussions with producers of ethyl alcohol and disinfectants in order to identify the available stocks of raw materials and the state of production facilities. The producers assured the agency that they had sufficient raw materials to produce at full capacity.

Bulgarian National Bank, the central bank, said in a statement that it coming days, it would set criteria for public and private moratoriums on bank loan payments. The decision will be made on the basis of criteria developed by the European Banking Authority, BNB said.

Bulgaria’s Arsenal armaments manufacturer is dismissing 2000 of its 9000 employees and has notified the Employment Agency and the Labour Bureau in Kazanluk.

Ryanair has suspended flights to and from Bulgaria until further notice, going by an announcement on the airline’s website. At Sofia Airport, large numbers of flights that had been due to depart or arrive at the airport on March 26 have been cancelled, according to flight information on the airport’s website.

The European Commission said that it had adopted decisions on harmonized standards that will allow manufacturers to place on the market high performing devices to protect patients, health care professionals and citizens in general. The standards will facilitate a faster and less expensive conformity assessment procedure. The revised harmonized standards play a pivotal role in the current coronavirus pandemic because they relate to critical devices such as medical face masks, surgical drapes, gowns and suits, washer-disinfectors and sterilization.

The Bulgarian head of state’s office said that because of the Covid-19 situation, President Roumen Radev had postponed his official visit to Germany that had been scheduled for March 26 and 27.



The Sofia Globe staff

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