Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Plovdiv steps up anti-epidemic measures compliance checks

Plovdiv governor Dani Kanazireva has ordered an increase in the number of inspections meant to ensure compliance with anti-epidemic measures in Bulgaria’s second city, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported on October 19.

Staff from the labour and food safety inspectorates will join the health inspectors, starting October 20, in the teams that will carry out the checks, BNT said.

The public broadcaster quoted Kanazireva saying that the inspections would focus on Plovdiv’s public transportation and inter-city travel routes, as well as supermarkets and shopping malls, where people would be fined if they did not have their faces covered and failed to keep at least two metres apart.

The fine, by law, is between 300 leva (about 153 euro) and 1000 leva for a first offence, rising to between 1000 leva and 2000 leva for repeat offenders.

Shop owners and transportation companies are required to post signs informing customers of the anti-epidemic measures and fines for breaching them, or risk being fined themselves (500 leva to 2000 leva for a first offence, rising to between 2000 leva and 5000 leva for repeat offenders.)

Kanazireva said that the checks were in response to the rapidly rising number of coronavirus-related hospitalisations in the city, which reached 200, and the risk that intensive care units would run out of beds, BNT reported.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov was in Blagoevgrad, one of the two districts to register sharp spikes in the number of Covid-19 cases last week, where he sought to assuage fears about local hospitals’ capacity to treat coronavirus patients.

Angelov said that capacity could be increased beyond what is currently available. He said that there would be no additional anti-epidemic measures implemented in the district, instead checks to ensure compliance with existing measures would be stepped up.

“If that happens, the infection numbers could be changed in the next two-three weeks and, be assured, I would be the first to tell people to go to Bansko or any other place where it is safe,” Angelov said, referring to his recommendation, issued last week, against travelling to Blagoevgrad or the surrounding district.

In Sofia too, there were concerns about availability of hospital beds, with the head of the capital city’s Pirogov emergency hospital, Assen Baltov, saying that all its beds allocated to treating Covid-19 patients were full.

“Unfortunately, we cannot take in more patients. Pirogov does not treat only coronavirus, we take on the heaviest trauma cases in Sofia and the country,” Baltov told Nova Televizia on October 19.

The head of Sofia regional health inspectorate, Dancho Penchev, told Bulgarian National Radio that an order to increase the bed allocation for Covid-19 treatment in the capital city was being prepared.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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