Bulgaria’s Parliament amends Health Act: 5000 leva fine for refusing or breaking quarantine

Bulgaria’s Parliament approved on December 2 the second reading of amendments to the Health Act, including provision for a 5000 leva (about 2556 euro) fine for refusing of breaking mandatory quarantine, as well as the procedure for notifications of mandatory isolation or quarantine.

The amendments deal with procedures in the case of mandatory isolation of quarantine of people who have, or are carriers of, anthrax, brucellosis, smallpox, viral haemorrhagic fevers, diphtheria, Ebola, yellow fever, typhoid fever, malaria, polio, severe acute respiratory syndrome, tuberculosis with cholera, plague and Covid-19.

The law empowers the Health Minister, acting on a proposal by the Chief State Health Inspector, to order mandatory isolation of people with such diseases and mandatory quarantine for contact persons.

Notifications may be given via a call to a landline or mobile number, or by text message or e-mail. In the event of a text message or e-mail, the notification will be considered served if the person replies.

The Human Medicine Medicinal Products Act was amended to empower the Health Minister to ban certain medicinal products to be exported during a State of Emergency or declared epidemic. The fine for violating the ban is between 50 000 and 100 000 leva.

Also on December 3, the National Assembly gave its approval for Bulgaria to participate in the preliminary agreements signed between the European Commission and pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech regarding the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

The same Parliament decision gave the Cabinet leave to pursue the necessary steps to sign a vaccine purchase contract with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson developing its own Covid-19 vaccine.

Separately, a Bulgarian government media statement on December 3 said that Health Minister Kostadin Angelov and Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev briefed Prime Minister Boiko Borissov on the national vaccination plan against Covid-19, which is to be put to the Cabinet for approval on December 4.

Professor Krassimir Gigov, head of the national vaccination headquarters, said that vaccinations would first be given to front-line doctors, nurses, paramedics and Interior Ministry staff, followed by people over 70 years of age.

The statement quoted Angelov as saying that the Covid-19 immunisation plan was created based on the experience of countries such as Germany and proven international institutions such as the World Health Organization.

Borissov said that the moment that the first vaccines arrive, the state would be ready to provide them to any Bulgarian who wanted, on a voluntary basis and free of charge.

“All (EU) member states have invested together in creating seven vaccines. They will come at different times, and each of them has its own uniqueness. This is good, because when they are delivered to our country, Bulgarian citizens will be sufficiently informed which vaccine they would prefer to get,” Borissov said.

For the organisation of the vaccinations, the country will be divided into seven regions, with regional health inspectorates in charge of each.

Angelov said that mobile teams are being organised that will reach the places where it is necessary to immunise a large group, such as in homes for the elderly and schools.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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