Bulgaria sees record 24-hour increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19

Bulgaria registered a record increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, as the figure rose by 48, national operational headquarters head Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a briefing on April 16.

Of the 48 new cases, 25 are in hospital.

The total number of confirmed cases is now 783, the death toll has risen by one to 37, while 122 people have been discharged from hospital after recovering.

There are 218 patients in hospital, 31 of them in intensive care.

Nine new cases have been confirmed among medical personnel, bringing the total to 48.

Speaking on the eve of Bulgaria’s four-day Orthodox Easter long weekend, Mutafchiyski repeated his call to residents of Sofia not to travel because of the danger of this causing a huge boom in the spread of the infection.

He underlined that the police at checkpoints controlling intercity travel were being strict about not allowing people to travel unless they had a valid and provable reason.

“Yesterday, just as we announced that the law enforcement agencies would be especially careful, all of Sofia rushed to leave. That will not happen,” Mutafchiyski said.

Responding to a question, he said that Wizz Air would be notified that it would not be able to, as it had earlier announced, resume its Varna-London flights.

At a separate briefing on April 16, Interior Ministry chief secretary Ivailo Ivanov said that Wednesday’s situation at the exits from Sofia had been “terrible”.

“Don’t these people know what the danger is?” he said.

Ivanov repeated the message, previously emphasised by Mutafchiyski and by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, that given that there were to be four days of public holidays, the reason “going to work” for intercity travel would not be accepted.

Ivanov said that a check on 9312 randomly-selected declarations, 641 people who had said that they were travelling for work reasons had no employment contracts, while 80 were registered as unemployed.

“My appeal is – do not try to fool anyone, you are fooling yourself. Stay home,” he said.

Prosecutors are being notified about those who had lied on their travel declarations.

National Police directorate head Commissioner Hristo Terziyski said that the number of police would be stepped up to prevent non-essential travel.

Police are to be deployed at the country’s close to 4000 Bulgarian Orthodox Church houses of worship to prevent crowding and to monitor the implementation of anti-epidemic measures.

Sofia police chief Georgi Hadzhiev said that 5889 fines across the country had been issued for violating anti-epidemic measures, of which 2534 were for failing to wear a protective mask or other face covering in public

Deputy Prime Minister Krassimir Karakachanov is to be fined after being photographed sitting on a bench in the garden near the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, in breach of the ban on visiting public parks and gardens. He also had failed to keep an appropriate distance from the person on the bench with him.

The fine for this offence is 300 leva.

(Photo: The team of the Alexandrovska Ophthalmology Clinic in Sofia with an appeal to ‘pray at home’)

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