Toy factory in Bulgarian town shut after 48 test positive for Covid-19

Work at a toy factory in the town of Dospat in southern Bulgaria has been temporarily suspended after 48 employees tested positive for Covid-19, the Smolyan municipality said on June 8.

In Dospat, a town with a population of about 2400, there are about 220 employees at the toy factory.

The 48 samples that tested positive were out of 173 as a mass test of workers began. The tests were conducted after an employee of the factory tested positive and was admitted to hospital in Gotse Delchev last week.

The toy factory employs many residents of neighbouring villages, including Sarnitsa, where 30 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed.

Smolyan regional governor Nedlyako Slavov said that trips to and from Dospat are not recommended.

Bulgarian National Radio reported Smolyan regional health inspectorate head Dr. Mimi Kubateva as saying: “We still don’t know exactly where, from which settlements the people who have tested positive are from.

“Once we receive this information, we will begin epidemiological studies of everyone regarding their contacts, who will be checked and placed under home quarantine,” Kubateva said.

“The workers themselves, who are positive, will be in home isolation for 28 days under the supervision of their GPs,” she said.

Dospat mayor Emil Radev issued an order introducing a number of restrictions in the municipality, in effect from June 8 to 15.

All kindergartens, community centres, sports grounds, playgrounds, sports halls and campsites are closed.

It is mandatory to wear protective masks in open and closed public places.

In all public places, including shops, pharmacies, banks and the municipal administration, people must remain at least 1.5m apart.

No more than two people may sit at one table in restaurants and bars.

Weddings, proms and prayer services are banned, as is any gathering of more than two people in one place. Cultural events and seminars are banned, and all markets in the municipality are closed.

Radev told business owners to strictly implement a system of disinfection.

He told Bulgarian National Television that although the factory maintained good discipline and hygiene, the infection most likely came from Sarnitsa.

Radev alleged that many of the women who came from Sarnitsa to work at the factory took analgin to suppress their temperatures so that thermometers would not detect that they were ill.

The heads of the health inspectorates in the three neighbouring districts of Smolyan, Blagoevgrad and Pazardzhik are expected to meet Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev on June 9 to discuss anti-epidemic measures.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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