Covid-19 death toll in Bulgaria rises to 14

Two people who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Bulgaria died on April 3, bringing the death toll to 14, according to information posted by the national operational headquarters at 5pm.

The total number of people tested positive is now 485, including those who have died and the 30 who have recovered.

A total of 173 people are in hospital, of whom 21 are in intensive care.

Details of one of the two deceased on April 3 were released by a hospital in Kyustendil. He was 83, and had been admitted on March 13 with pneumonia. Apart from his positive test for Covid-19, he also had chronic leukaemia and arterial hypertension.

The other death was of an 83-year-old woman in Alexandrovska Hospital in Sofia. She also had been ill with arterial hypertension and diabetes.

In other developments, the Supreme Administrative Court said that one of its judges had tested positive. He was in stable condition and not in hospital, the court said.

Everyone who had been in contact with him was being identified, notified, and would have to consult their GP. They would not be admitted to the Supreme Administrative Court building until April 17, unless they tested negative through PCR tests. All premises in the court are being disinfected.

After the European Banking Authority approved on April 3 the guidelines on treatment of public and private moratoria in light of Covid-19 measures, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) asked commercial banks to draft and submit for approval within five business days a joint proposal on the rules for a private moratorium on bank loan payments. The rules drafted by the banks, after their approval by the BNB, will allow lenders to be more flexible in their dealings with customers, the central bank said.

The Interior Ministry released on April 3 several details of gendarmerie operations throughout the country in the period from March 27 to April 2. These included work at checkpoints controlling intercity travel and checking on people under mandatory quarantine.

Gendarmerie checked 22 462 individuals and 4136 cars, 320 people under quarantine at 282 addresses, provided assistance to regional health inspectorates and escorted more than 1000 goods lorries in transit through Bulgaria, among other activities.

Eleven chambers of commerce issued a joint statement calling for 12 measures to support business during the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures they propose include the establishment of a bilateral advisory board with the government, mechanisms for all companies to offset and freeze tax liabilities and social security contributions to the end of September, freezing of principal and interest on loans, financing and leasing – except for vehicles not directly related to production and company services, until September, fast and easy long-term credit procedures to aid SME liquidity and cut intercompany debt, among other recommendations.

The signatories are Advantage Austria, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, the Belgian-Bulgaria-Luxembourg Business Club, the British Bulgarian Business Association, the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bulgarian-Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, Confindustry Bulgaria, Association of Italian Entrepreneurship in Bulgaria, The Hungarian-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and SweCham, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria’s National Assembly debated on the afternoon the proposed extension of the State of Emergency to May 13, and the Budget 2020 revisions tabled by the government. Under amended rules of procedure, voting on the bills was due only after debates on all legislation on the day’s order paper was completed, meaning that voting results were expected only late on Friday.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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