Bulgaria’s Labour Minister: More than 61 000 lost their jobs since State of Emergency began

Since Bulgaria’s State of Emergency against Covid-19 was declared on March 13, a total of 61 644 people have registered as unemployed, Labour and Social Policy Minister Denitsa Sacheva told a briefing on April 8.

This figure includes people who have been dismissed from their jobs, those who have returned from abroad and people who resigned in order to get unemployment benefits, she said.

Of the total, 32 341 people had applied for unemployment benefits. To date, 15404 benefits have been granted. The average amount of benefits granted is about 650 leva (about 332 euro).

Since the beginning of the State of Emergency, a total of 9830 people had found work, Sacheva said.

Over the past 20 days, labour bureaux had processed more than 103 000 applications of various kinds.

All application deadlines are automatically extended until the end of the State of Emergency. Additional offices are being opened and all documents can be submitted electronically.

Sacheva said that she had spoken to Interior Minister Mladen Marinov so that in all major cities, police could assist in managing queues of those who went in person to apply for benefits.

In another development on April 8, Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved an amendment to the Regions for Growth operational programme 2014-2020 to reallocate 40 million leva as part of measures to bolster the national health system to deal with growing numbers of patients because of Covid-19.

The money, a combination of European Union and Bulgarian funding, will be used to buy equipment for infectious diseases wards at hospitals, as well as for the supply of medicines, tests, protective clothing, personal protective equipment, masks and other products and services needed to strengthen the capacity of hospitals in Bulgaria.

The Ministry of Health will decide on the type and quantities of equipment and medical supplies to be bought, based on an ongoing analysis of the situation, estimated data on the spread of the infection and planned measures by the government.

On the morning of April 8, the national operational headquarters said that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria had increased overnight by four, to a total of 581.

This included 42 patients who had been discharged after recovering, and 23 who died in March and earlier in April.

A total of 213 patients are in hospital, 21 of them in intensive care. Thirty-two medical personnel have tested positive for Covid-19, the latest a 64-year-old X-ray lab technician in Sofia. Medical personnel account for 5.5 per cent of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Bulgaria, the operational HQ said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister has ordered 100 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits sent to the Republic of North Macedonia.

The PPE kits are for doctors working on the front line against coronavirus in North Macedonia.

Borissov said that this was being brothers meant: “Helping each other in difficult times”.

Borissov said that on Thursday, he would meet Bulgarian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Neofit and other leaders of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

“I’m really scared that Palm Sunday and Easter get us into the peak,” he said.

Borissov said that he already had spoken to some of the metropolitans to persuade them that more stringent measures were needed in the name of human health and life.

Unlike other faith groups which have suspended religious services or only stream them online, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is proceeding with Easter liturgies, albeit with stepped-up disinfection measures, and calls from some leaders of the church for Orthodox Christians to remain at home instead of going to church for Easter services.

Borissov told the briefing that this was not the time to talk about easing the restrictions against the spread of Covid-19, and an assessment could made only after two to three weeks, once the Easter holiday season had passed.

(Photo: Michael Maechtlinger/freeimages.com)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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