Covid-19 in Bulgaria: 108 dead, 1505 active cases

Three people in Bulgaria who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 108, according to figures released on May 17 by the national operational headquarters.

A total of 1094 samples had been tested in the past 24 hours, of which 36 were positive, the operational HQ said.

To date, a total of 2211 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Bulgaria, counting in those who have recovered and those who have died.

The three latest deaths were those of a 31-year-old man at Yambol hospital, and a 74-year-old man and 66-year-old woman at Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia. All three had other serious illnesses.

A total of 598 people have recovered, according to the operational HQ.

Of the 36 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, counting by district, 10 were in Sofia, six each in Yambol and Pazardzhik, three each in Blagoevgrad, Pleven and Plovdiv, two each in Sliven and Smolyan and one in Rousse.

A total of 323 patients are in hospital, 46 in intensive care.

The number of medical personnel who have tested positive is 240, with four new cases in Sofia, two in Pazardzhik and one in Knezha.

Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, head of the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases and a member of the operational HQ, said that the results of an analysis by the Military Medical Academy and the centre he heads showed that the measures imposed in Bulgaria to combat Covid-19 were effective.

He presented the analysis of three indicators.

The first indicator is 14-day cumulative morbidity, meaning that comparisons were made of numbers of proven cases with the previous period.

On April 2, this indicator had been 4.5 per 100 000 population, while at the beginning of May, it had increased to 10.7, and now had decreased to 7.8, which Kantzardzhiev ascribed to people complying with the measures.

The second indicator is what its known as the disease’s effective reproductive number, meaning how many people one person may infect. With whooping cough, one patient infects 17 people and with influenza, one person infects two. With coronavirus, one person infects three.

When the number reaches one, the epidemic is deemed to be extinguished. Currently in Bulgaria, the figure is in the range of 0.8 to 1.2. In the first weeks of the disease, it was 1.7 and in early May was 1.17.

“If we turn this number to less than 1 with a little effort from the public complying with the measures, it will mean that we see the light at the end of the tunnel of this epidemic,” Kantzardzhiev said.

The third indicator is the time it takes for the number of cases to double. In the beginning, in Bulgaria it was 10 days, later it rose to 12 days, and now was more than a month, he said.

“There can be only one conclusion, that the restrictive measures are working,” Kantardzhiev said.

Bulgaria declared a State of Emergency on March 13 to impose measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. These included closure of schools, universities, shopping centres, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and casinos, restriction of access to hospitals for routine procedures, restrictions on intercity travel, a ban on domestic tourism and closing the country to non-EU nationals and nationals of European countries with high rates of infection. Most measures were amended during the time of the State of Emergency, such as orders to wear masks in public places.

After the end of the State of Emergency on May 13, the government issued a national epidemic declaration to be in effect until June 14, with orders issued including continuing the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor public places such as supermarkets, mandatory quarantine periods for those arriving from abroad and a continuation of the ban on the arrival of foreigners.

However, several restrictions have been eased recently, among them allowing the re-opening of open-air spaces in restaurants and bars, re-opening of cinemas, shopping malls and swimming pools, allowing access to public parks to all, subject to anti-epidemic measures such as physical spacing rules and regular disinfection. Intercity travel restrictions were lifted on May 6.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, without giving a specific date, said on May 16 that kindergartens would re-open “by May 24” so that parents at work would have somewhere to place their young children.

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Section supported by the Embassy of Switzerland



The Sofia Globe staff

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