Bulgaria sees Covid-19 UK variant as behind rise in cases

The increase in Covid-19 infections and patients in hospital in Bulgaria in the past 14 days is due to the spread of the UK variant on the virus, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told the ministry’s weekly news conference on March 4.

The increase also was because of changes to measures, “but mostly to the high susceptibility to infection with this virus,” he said.

Angelov said that while there had been a trend of a gradual increase in the morbidity rate and patients in hospital, there also were positive trends in recoveries from the virus.

He said that consideration was being given to different anti-epidemic measures at local level, given the large differences in morbidity in various parts of the country, meaning that where the situation is more severe, stricter measures may be imposed.

In Kyustendil, the infection rate was 487 per 100 000 population, while in Turgovishte, it was 26 per 100 000.

“In Kyustendil district, there was an order for the public to wear masks outdoors. At the entrance to the medical establishments, people’s temperatures are taken and antigen tests are performed. We are analysing whether these measures are working,” he said.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said that as of March 4, the operational headquarters in Bourgas had decided to cancel planned operations and planned admission to one of the hospitals.

“In our opinion, this is the right decision. I even recommend that the other headquarters, especially in Kyustendil, Vratsa, Pleven, Sofia city, also consider similar actions.

“Where there are many medical institutions, such as in Sofia, it is not necessary to applies to all hospitals, but is needed for those who are overwhelmed, those who are currently taking the brunt.”

Kunchev said that the 14-day morbidity rate in Bulgaria was 285 per 100 000, which put the country in 18th place in the European Union and fifth place on the Balkan peninsula.

Krassimir Gigov, head of the national vaccination headquarters, said that to date, about 30 000 people in essential services, 26 000 doctors and 16 000 other health care professionals and 11 000 election officials had been vaccinated.

Medicines Agency head Bogdan Kirilov said that the European Medicines Agency was expected to pronounce a decision next week on the Jannsen vaccine against Covid-19, and if it was positive, deliveries were expected to begin in April.

The Jannsen vaccine would be the first single-dose one to come into use.

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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