Covid-19 in Bulgaria: ‘Easing of measures does not mean situation is over’

Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Associate Professor Angel Kunchev said in a May 10 television interview that he does not like the fact that many people see the easing of restrictive measures against the spread of Covid-19 as the end of the situation.

“Definitely it is not the end,” Kunchev said.

He said that if what happened in Vidin happened throughout the country, “it would be a tragedy”.

“It would not be the Italian version, nor the New York one, but it would be very heavy.”

The city of Vidin, in north-western Bulgaria, is about the 20th-largest city in the country, with an estimated population of 48 000, and is the capital of the district of the same name, which has a total population of about 108 000. Vidin is in third place in the confirmed number of cases, 151 as of May 10, and in third place in the number of deaths, five.

Should the situation in Vidin be repeated in other parts of the country, strict measures and restrictions would be imposed, he said.

Repeating a call for self-discipline, Kunchev said that having to take measures for the whole country because of personal irresponsibility was not fair. “Anyone who does not follow the rules and recommendations should be punished,” he said.

The new coronarivus infection would recede, but no one could say when this would happen, Kunchev said.

“What we do affects the number of patients after a week. If we allow 20-30-50 people to gather in restaurants, this will inevitably lead to new outbreaks and the imposition of new restrictions,” he said.

On the morning of May 10, Bulgaria’s national operational headquarters against Covid-19 said that in the past 24 hours, a total of 1126 samples had been tested, and 44 had been positive.

To date, there were 1955 confirmed cases of new coronavirus, including a death toll of 90 and 444 people who had recovered.

There are a total of 389 people in hospital, nine more than as of the morning of May 9, and 56 are in intensive care, up from 49 twenty-four hours earlier.

Of the newly-confirmed cases, three are medical personnel, bringing the total to 209.

In an interview with Bulgarian-language media, Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, head of the National Institute of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, said that virus not only adhered to hard surfaces, but to porous surfaces too, such as clothing.

He urged people to change their clothes on arrival home.

Bulgaria’s Minister of Health Kiril Ananiev, in a reply to a written question in Parliament, said that the ministry had taken action against more than 100 businesses because their disinfectants did not meet regulatory requirements, and against more than 15 online stores offering such products.

He said that all disinfectants – biocides – placed on the market must contain on the label the number of the permit for its sale issued by the Minister of Health.

With regard to coronavirus prevention measures, it should be borne in mind that efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 should continue after the lifting of the State of Emergency, including at the workplace.

This should include awareness-raising campaigns for employees to encourage adherence to good hygiene practices and physical distancing and control by employers to protect the health of employees, Ananiev said.

(Screenshot of Kunchev via BNT)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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