Covid-19: Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector wants epidemic declaration extended

Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said on June 9 that he would ask the government to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declaration – due to expire on June 14 – either to the end of the month or for a whole month.

Kunchev was speaking a few hours after the national information system reported an increase of 83 new confirmed cases of new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, more than 50 of them at a toy factory in the southern Bulgarian town of Dospat. Thirty-five cases are in the village of Sarnitsa.

The number of active cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria dropped briefly below the 1000-mark on June 6, but for the past three days has been rising steadily, and is now 1059.

The outbreaks in Dospat and Sarnitsa prompted Kunchev to meet on June 9 with health officials from the districts of Smolyan, Pazardzhik and Blagoevgrad and mayors from the region.

After the meeting, he said that it would be a good idea to extend the epidemic declaration because it would make it legally possible to impose border control measures.

Kunchev said that he would ask for an extension of the mandatory quarantine beyond June 15 for those entering Bulgaria from certain countries, including the Republic of North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Extending the epidemic declaration would not mean quarantining settlements or reintroducing the requirement to wear protective masks in public places.

He said that the outbreaks in Dospat and Sarnitsa did not represent a second wave of the virus.

Workers at the toy factory in Dospat had concealed their symptoms for fear of losing their jobs, he said.

On June 8, Dospat mayor Elin Radev said that women from Sarnitsa coming to work at the factory had taken Analgin to suppress their temperatures to avoid being suspected of being ill. This allegation was denied by Sarnitsa mayor Nebi Bozov.

(Screenshot of Kunchev via BNT)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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