Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Daily briefings by operational HQ end

Daily briefings by Bulgaria’s operational headquarters against Covid-19 will no longer be held, but updated data will be posted on the Health Ministry website, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on June 4.

The national operational HQ will continue in office until December 31, Borissov said.

In the first weeks of the Covid-19 emergency in Bulgaria, live briefings were held twice-daily, given by operational HQ chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski.

This was more recently reduced to a live briefing in the morning and an online update in the evening, with Mutafchiyski appearing once weekly on Thursday mornings.

Borissov noted that June 4 marked 100 days since he had issued the order for the establishment of the national operational HQ.

“I thank all Bulgarians for their efforts in the fight against the coronavirus,” Borissov said. “We did a great job in a very serious contagion and pandemic. We hope that everything will calm down, that there will be no second and third wave,” he said.

He said that up to December 31, while the operational HQ was still in existence, it must ensure the replenishment of tests and medicines.

Borissov warned that the virus had not gone away and people must learn to live alongside it “but we want to return to normal life as soon as possible, the economy to start, and to think about mental health”.

He said that physical distancing and disinfection had been clearly proven to be effective in the fight against Covid-19.

“They must continue to be respected. Let’s continue to wash our hands after June 15,” Borissov said, referring to the scheduled expiry of the epidemic declaration.

Whoever wanted to should continue to wear a mask indoors, he said. “We have to be careful,” Borissov said, noting that there was no vaccine against new coronavirus and no proven medicinal cure.

For now, Bulgaria did not intend removing the 14-day quarantine for those arriving from third (meaning, non-EU) countries, he said.

Mutafchiyski said that in the past 24 hours, a total of 1174 tests had been done, of which 25 had proven positive.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases of new coronavirus in Bulgaria to date to 2585, counting in those who have died and those who have recovered from the virus. The number is one per cent higher than yesterday.

The total number of active cases is 1116. The death toll is 147, having risen by one in the past 24 hours.

The number of people who have recovered is 1311, about 51 per cent of the total of those who proved positive.

There are 141 patients in hospital, eight of them in intensive care.

In other developments related to the Covid-19 situation, Bulgaria’s Cabinet has approved a package of measures meant to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the air travel industry, which includes a 70 per cent cut in Sofia Airport parking fees for six months and an eight-month deferral of air navigation fees for all airports in the country.

The Cabinet also will postpone the 2020 concession fee payments for Varna and Bourgas airports, operated by Germany’s Fraport, pending approval by the European Commission, while the state-owned Sofia Airport will delay capital expenditures.

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, in an order issued on June 3, said that team and individual outdoor sport events will be allowed in Bulgaria from June 10, provided no more than 30 per cent of the seating capacity of the venues is used and spectators sit at least two seats, or 1.5m, apart.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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