Covid-19: Planned operations halted at hospitals in Sofia, other parts of Bulgaria

The regional health inspectorate in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia has issued an order that as of March 8, planned admissions and operations in all hospitals are suspended.

The order follows an earlier decision by Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia to suspend planned admissions and operations, and similar orders elsewhere in various parts of Bulgaria.

The Sofia regional health inspectorate order allows exceptions for activities related to transplantation of organs, tissues and cells, diagnostics and treatment of patients with oncological and oncohematological diseases, assisted reproduction and childbirth activities, rehabilitation activities, long-term treatment and psychiatric care.

Visits by outsiders to hospitals in Sofia are prohibited, with the exceptions of visits to patients who are terminal.

The order did not specify an expiry date but a statement on Bulgaria’s national information system website said that the temporary heightened anti-epidemic measures in Sofia would be amended depending on the development of the Covid-19 situation in the city.

On March 5, Bulgarian National Radio reported Professor Boris Bogov, head of Alexandrovska Hospital in Sofia, as saying that it was expected that by the end of the day, an order would be issued suspending scheduled admissions to hospitals in all of Bulgaria’s Covid-19 “red zones”.

Currently, 22 out of 28 districts in Bulgaria are “red zones”, meaning a morbidity rate exceeding 200 per 100 000 population.

Of the remaining six districts, five are classified as “orange zones”, meaning an incidence of 60 to 119.9 per 100 000 population: Kurdzhali, Montana, Razgrad, Rousse and Vidin.

One district is a “yellow zone”, meaning an incidence of 20 to 59.9 per 100 000 population: Turgovishte.

Other places where planned hospital admissions and operations are being suspended include Sveta Marina University Hospital in Varna, as well as Bourgas, Pleven and Shoumen.

In other news on March 5 related to the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, the National Assembly voted down a motion tabled by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, calling on the Cabinet to start bilateral talks with Russia to get that country’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Instead, MPs approved a resolution that gave the government a mandate to discuss with the European Commission the possibility of opening talks on Covid-19 vaccines with countries outside the EU and European Economic Area.

Amid mutual recriminations of lobbyism, socialist MPs accused the government coalition of dodging responsibility and kicking the can down the road. The head of Parliament’s health care committee, Daniela Daritkova, rejected the criticism, saying that the resolution would give the Cabinet the power to acquire vaccines once they have been approved by the European Medicines Agency.

On the afternoon of March 5, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said that so far, more than 30 000 people had registered in the online registration system to declare that they wanted to receive vaccinations against Covid-19.

As The Sofia Globe reported on Thursday, the online system went live just after 5pm on March 4.

Angelov said that there had been a serious hacking attack on the online system on Friday morning, but the attack had been beaten off by Informatsionno Obsluzhvane, the state-owned IT company that developed the system.

He said that the electronic register for vaccinations operated on the basis of expected deliveries of vaccines.

There was no shortage of vaccines, he said. The Bulgarian state had provided 305 million leva to procure vaccines, and so far had paid 15 million leva for deliveries.

“If all vaccines are delivered as planned by the manufacturing companies, Bulgaria will have 18 million doses, enough to vaccinate nine million people,” Angelov said.

(Photo: Iwan Beijes)

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

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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