Covid-19: Bulgaria’s Health Minister proposes tighter restrictions

Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov proposed on November 23 a tougher set of measures to reduce the number of coronavirus cases in the country, as current restrictions appeared to have little impact on the number of infections.

Angelov said that the proposal would be submitted to Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and discussed at the weekly Cabinet meeting. If approved, it called for the tighter restrictions to go into effect on November 27.

Under the proposal, the epidemic state of emergency, currently set to expire on November 30, would be extended by four months until the end of March 2021.

In-person classes in kindergartens, schools and universities would be suspended for a period of two weeks, as would extracurricular activities.

Sports events, conferences and other public events would be cancelled, as would privately-organised festivities.

Night clubs, discos and other entertainment venues would remain closed, with restaurants, bars and other daytime entertainment venues also shutting down. An exception would be made only for takeaway services at restaurants.

All non-essential shops would close, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices, banks, insurance companies and payment services providers.

All internal and external tourism trips would be cancelled, but public transportation and inter-city travel would not be subject to any restrictions.

The measures listed by Angelov replicate to a large extent those put in place in March, during the first wave of Covid-19 cases in the country. The main difference is that the proposal does not suggest closing down parks or setting up checkpoints at the exits of cities and towns.

Angelov said that the first initial results of the tighter measures could be seen after eight days. If the impact was significant in the first three weeks, some measures could be eased in time for the winter holidays period, he said.

“No matter how prepared the healthcare system is, it cannot hold on under such pressure. Our doctors and nurses will not make it. My head and my heart tell me that we need to take new measures to break the chain of infection,” Angelov said.

According to Assen Baltov, head of the Sofia’s Pirogov emergency hospital, the number of active coronavirus cases among medical personnel in Bulgaria exceeded 2000 people.

(Bulgaria Health Minister Kostadin Angelov photo:

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The Sofia Globe staff

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