Covid-19 in Bulgaria, May 5: Intercity travel restrictions scrapped as of Wednesday

The restrictions on intercity travel in Bulgaria end at midnight, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev said on May 5.

An order issued by Ananiev also rescinded the rules for entering or leaving Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

The intercity travel restrictions came into effect on March 21 as a means of containing the spread of Covid-19. The stricter version of the rules applying to Sofia was decreed on the eve of the Orthodox Easter four-day weekend.

The announcement came a few hours after Ananiev issued changes to the rules governing the re-opening of open-air parts of restaurants, coffee shops and bars, which take effect on May 6. The mandatory minimum distance between tables is reduced from 2.5 metres to 1.5 metres.

The national operational headquarters announced on the evening of May 5 that the number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours had increased from 1652 to 1704.

The death toll has risen by two, to 80. Those who died in the past 24 hours were an 80-year-old man in Veliko Turnovo who had diabetes and peritonitis, and a 61-year-old man who had diabetes and arterial hypertonia, who died at a hospital in Sevlievo.

The number of patients in hospital remained unchanged in the past 24 hours, at 316. The number in intensive care has increased by two to 39.

The number of medical personnel who have tested positive has increased from 177 on Monday evening to 182 on Tuesday evening.

Bulgarian National Radio reported Pirogov emergency hospital head Professor Assen Baltov as saying on May 5 that a total of 48 staff at the hospital had tested positive for new coronavirus.

Seventeen are doctors, in all wards. Twenty in surgical wards, including seven surgeons, have tested positive.

A total of 2300 people are employed at Pirogov. So far, 1110 have been tested and 60 continue to be tested daily, using PCR tests, on a pool system, he said.

The Sliven hospital where Dr Iliyana Ivanova died this past weekend issued a statement on May 5 that she had tested positive for Covid-19. The hospital released the statement in response to claims that she had not tested positive.

Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova said that as of May 7, parking in blue and green zones would require payment. The city was gradually normalising public transport schedules, she said.

Deutsche Welle reported Andrea Amon, head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as saying that in Bulgaria, the coronavirus was continuing to gain momentum. Citing Reuters, DW reported Amon as listing Bulgaria as among four European countries where the peak of the pandemic is yet to be reached.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov visited Pirogov hospital on May 5, thanking medical professionals and volunteers and inspecting renovated clinics, the government media service said.

Borissov said that in Bulgaria, every patient in need gets the necessary medical care, and it was for this reason that at a moment of unprecedented challenge such as the Covid-19 pandemic, many Bulgarians had returned from abroad, to rely on the country’s health system, the government statement said.


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The Sofia Globe staff

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