Covid-19 in Bulgaria, April 30 roundup: Heavy traffic, court convictions, cases rise

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria has risen by 59 in the past 24 hours to 1506, the national operational headquarters said in an evening update on April 30.

This total counts in those who have died and those who have recovered.

The death toll has risen by two in the past 24 hours to 66.

The number of people in hospital has risen by seven to 317, and the number in intensive care by two to 40.

Nine more medical personnel have tested positive, bringing the total to 164.

There was a massive build-up of traffic in the late afternoon of April 30 as motorists sought to leave Sofia ahead of the May 1 long weekend.

Police at checkpoints collected declarations and questioned motorists about their reason for travelling. Currently, entering or leaving Sofia is allowed only for work or medical reasons.

A total of 200 police checkpoints are operating in various cities in Bulgaria to control intercity travel.

All passengers that had been on the April 26 Bulgaria Air flight from Amsterdam to Sofia, as well as all of those who had been in contact with them, have been found, the operational headquarters said on April 30.

They had been sought after it emerged that three people on the flight had tested positive for Covid-19.

A taxi driver who had taken the passengers who tested positive to a village in the district of Haskovo has been placed in quarantine.

Further details emerged on April 30 of the planned “mass testing” for Covid-19 in Plovdiv.

Chief State Health Inspector Associate Professor Angel Kunchev said that Plovdiv had been chosen to be representative of Bulgaria. A place had been sought where there had been cases confirmed, but not on as large a scale as in Vidin.

The testing would give a real picture of how many people had encountered the virus and how many of them had antibodies.

People from all parts of Plovdiv will be tested. With the aim of testing about 1000 people, the team, headed by Dr Savina Stoitsova, will visit more than 30 addresses, with households as their primary target. Whole families will be tested. People have the right to refuse to be tested.

Kunchev said that many residents of Plovdiv wanted to volunteer to be tested for new coronavirus, but this could not be done because of the specifics of the methodology. Those who agree to be tested will be asked to fill in a form with details about their health status, travel abroad and people with whom they have been in contact.

The project is expected to take about two weeks.

The Varna District Court has approved a plea bargain by which a 28-year-old technical manager at a construction company and another employee are sentenced to six months’ probation for lying on an intercity travel declaration.

The two had declared that they were travelling to a company site in Aksakovo, but instead went to an acquaintance in the village of Zornitsa to get vegetables from his garden.

The Razgrad District Court approved two plea bargains involving people who violated quarantine.

In one, a 20-year-old woman was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for three years, and a fine of 10 000 leva (about 5000 euro).

In another, a lorry driver was sentenced to eight months’ probation and a fine of 5000 leva.

The United States government has donated funds to purchase for Bulgaria a Covid-19 testing kit through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the embassy in Sofia said on April 30.

Bulgaria, an IAEA Member State since 1957, requested a test kit through an IAEA project. The US responded by providing the funding to purchase the fastest, most reliable Covid-19 testing machine, the statement said.

The US purchased for Bulgaria a diagnostic testing machine that uses the most sensitive technique for detecting viruses currently available, according to the statement.

The machine employs a nuclear-derived technique to rapidly detect the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The technique is known as real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR).

“Real time RT-PCR detects the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen, including a virus—which makes it possible to identify the SARS-CoV2 virus within hours.  RT-PCR is one of the most reliable and fastest testing methods for the coronavirus.”

In addition to the RT-PCR machine, Bulgaria will receive Covid-19 diagnostic kits and training,

biosafety supplies such as personal protection equipment, primers, probes, and laboratory cabinets for the safe analysis of collected samples.

The support package includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the operators during sampling, sample processing and testing; equipment for establishment/upgrade of molecular diagnostics and a specific diagnostic kit for the detection of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 using three techniques. The entire kit will include materials sufficient for 2000 test samples. The kit creates its own laboratory.

The non-consumable portion of the kit, including the testing machine and cabinets, can be used in perpetuity. IAEA is working with Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases to arrange for international delivery of the kit, the embassy said.

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Section supported by the Embassy of Switzerland



The Sofia Globe staff

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