Most of Bulgaria’s stricter measures against Covid-19 extended to end-January

Most of the stricter measures that came into effect on November 27 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Bulgaria will remain in effect until January 31 instead of expiring on December 21, it was announced at a briefing at the Cabinet office.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said that nightclubs, gaming halls, casinos, restaurants and sports halls will remain closed until January 31.

Shopping malls will remain closed, except for the banks, payment services, pharmacies and food shops in them.

Kindergartens, nurseries and in-person classes for first to fourth grade pupils will resume on January 4. A decision on whether to resume in-person classes for fifth to 12th grade pupils will be made later.

The ban on conferences, congresses and in-person seminars remains in place until January 31.

Theatres, museums, galleries and cinemas may re-open from January 1, with a limitation of use of no more than 30 per cent seating capacity.

Eating places in hotels may open, but with shift systems for breakfast, lunch and supper, with no more than 50 per cent seating capacity being used, only hotel guests admitted and with a compulsory closing time of no later than 10pm.

Reviewing data on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, Angelov said: “If you ask me if we are happy with these data – categorically, no”.

At national level, occupancy of Covid-19 beds in hospitals for patients not in need of intensive care is 52 per cent.

Districts where occupancy of such beds is highest include Shoumen, 76 per cent, Bourgas 70 per cent, Turgovishte 68 per cent, Varna 67 per cent, Rousse 66 per cent and Yambol and Sliven 64 per cent each.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told the briefing that Covid-19 mortality in Bulgaria was at a rate, over a two-week basis, of 21.4 per 100 000 population, putting the country in second place in the European Union, behind Slovenia.

Bulgaria’s Covid-19 morbidity rate is 438 per 100 000, which puts it in the 14th place in the EU.

Over the past 14 days, the trend in newly-registered cases on average in the EU has been an increase of 4.8 per cent, while in Bulgaria, it has been minus 4.5 per cent.

Kunchev said that this was having an effect on the number of people in hospital, but not yet on severe cases and the number of deaths, though he expected that there would be an effect by the end of the year.

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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