Covid-19: Bulgaria expects large quantities of vaccine deliveries in rest of March, April

A total of 80 000 vaccines against Covid-19 will be delivered to Bulgaria on March 8 and by the end of the month the number of doses delivered to the country will be about 200 000, Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, head of the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, said in a television interview.

Kantardzhiev, a member of the national headquarters against Covid-19, told Nova Televizia that it was not the relaxation of the anti-epidemic measures but the spread of the UK variant of new coronavirus that was the reason for the disturbing increase of Covid-19 patients in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria began its vaccination drive against Covid-19 on December 27. The rollout has been hampered by shortfalls in deliveries to the country.

According to the March 6 daily report by the national information system, as The Sofia Globe reported earlier, a total of 15 920 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 were administered in Bulgaria in the past day, bringing the total to 284 464. The report said that to date, 49 938 people had received a second dose of vaccine.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television on March 6 that the current peak would pass after two to three weeks “after which I hope there will be a long bright period in spring and summer, as there was last year”.

He said that scientists predicted that in 2022, while the Covid-19 problem would not disappear, it would become a respiratory virus encountered in the autumn-winter period “but it will not be scary and we will not die en masse”.

Kunchev said that at the moment, the data on Covid-19 in Bulgaria were bad and the increase was significant, but on the other hand this was not a surprise because a similar trend had been observed elsewhere in Europe for about a month.

In many countries, about 60 per cent of the cases were the UK variant of new coronavirus, he said.

He said that at this stage, it was better for the anti-epidemic measures in Bulgaria to be set at local level because differences in incidence among the country’s areas were very large.

The suspension of planned admissions to hospitals was necessary because of the need for beds, Kunchev said.

Regarding the opening of restaurants and bars, Kunchev was adamant that the risk in such places was comparable to the risk at the office, on a bus or in a shop.

He said that he was aware that it was striking that activities at hospitals were restricted, while restaurants were working.

“The wave in Kyustendil started while restaurants were closed and if someone thinks that by closing the restaurants, we would stop the wave and there would be no third wave, he is very wrong.

“Yes, there would be some effect, and contacts are made there, but if people act intelligently, smartly, if they visit the restaurant just to eat, if there are not 15 people in a large company, the risk is absolutely comparable to many other places – both in the office and on the street, and in transport, and in the shop,” Kunchev said.

He said that the characteristics of the virus had changed, first, in that it is more easily transmitted, and second, the clinical picture has changed.

“In October, November, December, if someone told me that he had a runny nose, I immediately told him that it was not Covid. Now, on the contrary, it starts as a typical runny nose – stuffy nose, throat, cough, irritation,” Kunchev said.

The third thing that had changed was the age groups – 20 per cent of new cases are younger than 19 and there was already a spread of the virus in kindergartens and schools, he said.

Kunchev said that within two months, there would be all kinds of vaccines at the vaccination points and people would be able to choose from among them.

“God grant that the arrangements are kept to, but in March 480 000 doses will arrive in Bulgaria, and in April, the new Jannsen vaccine will be added to them.

“If the large army of general practitioners gets involved adequately, we will provide vaccines to them, and every doctor should do 10 vaccinations a day, that’s 40 000 doses a day. We can do up to 100 000 doses a day, as long as there are enough,” Kunchev said.

In other news related to the Covid-19 situation on March 6:

New rules have been announced for people arriving in Romania from Bulgaria.

From 9pm on March 6, those arriving in Romania from Bulgaria who have a negative PCR test done up to 72 hours before boarding the vehicle (in the case of those travelling by public transport) or before entering Romania (for those using private transport) will be subject to home quarantine of 10 days.

If the person is staying no more than three days – 72 hours – and a negative PCR test done up to 72 hours before entering Romania is presented, no quarantine will be required.

Those arriving from Bulgaria who do not present such a test will be required to go into home quarantine for 14 days.

The negative result of the PCR test may be in the form of a document in Bulgarian and English, on paper or electronic media, but it must be issued by an authorised laboratory and contain the identification data of the test.

No test is required for children aged three or younger, as well as for those who have been vaccinated, including the second dose, or who have had Covid-19 in the previous 90 days, according to the statement on the website of Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry.

A government media statement on March 6 said that freelance musicians would be given a sum equivalent to five minimum salaries and the accompanying social security contributions as one-off assistance amid the pandemic.

The statement said that this meant that about 1000 musicians would each receive 4350 leva (about 2224 euro).

The funds will be provided by the Cabinet next week, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said at a meeting with four musicians who presented the demands of freelance musicians in Bulgaria, the statement said.

(Photo: Bulgaria’s Military Medical Academy)

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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