Covid-19: Bulgaria ‘at peak of third wave’, Health Ministry says

Experts say that Bulgaria is at the peak of the third wave of Covid-19 in the country, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told the regular weekly briefing on April 1.

The briefing came as the daily report by the national information system showed, as The Sofia Globe reported earlier, that the number of patients in hospital in Bulgaria had passed the 10 000-mark and the death toll had risen by 129 in the past 24 hours to a total of 13 197.

Angelov said that the past two weeks had seen an increase in cases and in the past few days, Bulgaria had reached “the top of the peak”.

There is pressure on medical institutions in Bulgaria – mostly in Sofia, Bourgas, Varna and Shoumen, but the mortality rate is lower than it was during the wave in November and December last year, the briefing was told.

“The biggest pressure right now is the pressure on people’s psyches,” Angelov said.

“Different people try to put pressure by using the fears and hopes of all Bulgarians. Let every Bulgarian citizen be calm, to know that the healthcare system is prepared. We have absolutely no worries,” he said.

The data showed that the number of patients in hospital was now much higher than in the second peak in the autumn, but the medical establishments were coping, Angelov said.

He said that 74 per cent of the beds for patients not requiring intensive care were occupied, while 71 per cent of the intensive care beds were occupied.

Angelov said that the hope lay in the growing number of vaccinated people in the country but added that Bulgaria was the “only country in Europe” where people had access to a vaccine but refused to receive it because it was not the one of their choice.

He said that Bulgaria expected to receive a sufficient amount of vaccine doses by the end of April to enable people to make an informed choice about which one they wanted.

Medicines Agency head Bogdan Kirilov told the briefing that about 700 000 doses of vaccines are expected to arrive in Bulgaria by the end of April, of which 350 000 will be RNA vaccines.

“By the end of June, we expect about 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, nearly half a million of the Moderna vaccine, nearly a million of the Oxford vaccine and nearly half a million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“The first delivery of 14 400 doses should take place around April 16, and a further 24 000 doses on April 26,” Kirilov said.

Angelov said that to date, 11 956 medical personnel in Bulgaria had tested positive.

Currently, there were 1216 active cases among medical personnel, with 1070 undergoing home treatment, 146 in hospital, 11 in intensive care.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said that on a 14-day basis, Bulgaria was third in the EU in mortality and fifth in morbidity.

Assen Baltov, head of Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia, said that the hospitals in Sofia were not 100 per cent full and if necessary, even with an increase in the number of newly-infected, would be able to respond adequately.

The pressure was not like that in November and December, when there were complaints about waiting in front of hospitals and insufficent capacity for hospitalisations.

Kirilov said that the Medicines Agency had received 1442 reports of side-effects from the vaccines. This included 1002 regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, 332 regarding the BioNTech-Pfizer and 108 the Moderna vaccine.

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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