Mayor of Bulgaria’s capital: Stricter anti-epidemic measures not needed

Stricter anti-epidemic measures do not need to be introduced in Sofia, mayor Yordanka Fandukova said on March 15.

Her comments came against the background of the fact that Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia is, along with almost all districts in the country, a Covid-19 “red zone”, meaning that the rate of infection is 120 or more per 100 000 population.

As of the most recent available report by the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, for the week ending March 7, the infection rate in Sofia was 484 per 100 000 population.

Of the 679 newly-infected reported by the national information system on March 15, a total of 223 were in Sofia.

But Fandukova said that gyms and shopping malls were remaining open, with continuing checks on compliance with anti-epidemic measures.

Municipal hospitals were ready to open extra beds in Covid-19 wards, she said.

Kindergartens and nurseries remained open.

“We will, of course, monitor the situation very closely,” she said.

“Today we have 24 quarantined kindergarten groups and 10 nursery groups out of a total of over 1600 groups in municipal kindergartens. Two kindergartens are closed, both in the Ovcha Kupel neighbourhood, due to ill employees and teachers, as well as one school, the 100 school in the Serdika neighbourhood, also because of ill teachers,” Fandukova said.

In other news related to the Covid-19 situation on March 15:

Professor Krassimir Gigov, head of Bulgaria’s national vaccination headquarters, told Bulgarian National Radio: “If we don’t get vaccinated, the risk is high.”

“Before immunisation, it is good for people to consult their personal physicians. Fever, malaise, redness at the injection site are acceptable side effects of vaccines,” he said.

Vaccination with BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna was continuing, and that with AstraZeneca is expected to resume within days, Gigov said.

He that the vaccination of people in the fifth phase of the national vaccination plan was forthcoming,

Gigov said that the distribution of vaccines within Bulgaria is determined by population density and morbidity.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told bTV that four Bulgarians who had returned to the country from Zanzibar on a recent flight had tested positive for Covid-19.

They underwent rapid antigen tests and would undergo PCR tests, he said.

Their samples will be sequenced to establish the presence of the South African or Nigerian variant of new coronavirus.

Kunchev said that Bulgaria had imposed a 10-day quarantine on everyone arriving from Africa precisely because of these more contagious and dangerous variants.

Associate Professor Iva Hristova of the Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases told Bulgarian National Radio that the Nigerian variant is the most serious so far. It shares mutations with already known variants of the virus, but there is evidence that the course of the disease is more severe and affects the younger age group.

The latest Covid-19 death of a well-known figure in Bulgaria came on March 15 when Konstantin Markov, musician, composer, founder and bassist of the Tangra rock group, died at the age of 71 from complications from Covid-19.

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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