Health Minister: Bulgaria emerging from Covid-19 third wave

Bulgaria is emerging from the third wave of Covid-19, outgoing Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told a news conference on April 22.

“Very soon Bulgaria will become an example of achieving results with reasonable and consistent actions. Results of a kind, which many European countries could not achieve,” Angelov said.

He said that in the past 24 hours, once again the rate of people who had recovered from the virus exceeded those who had become infected.

At national level, the rate of occupancy of beds in hospitals’ Covid-19 wards for patients not in need of emergency care was 61 per cent and in emergency wards 65 per cent, Angelov said. There was a continuing trend of a decrease in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital, he said.

For the situation to continue to improve, two things were essential – for the tempo of vaccinations to continue, and for people to comply with the anti-epidemic measures, including wearing protective masks and avoiding large-scale events.

Angelov said that in May, Bulgaria could reach a rate of 55 000 people being vaccinated per day.

He said that Bulgaria could achieve collective immunity at the earliest in late June, and in the worst case, in late August.

Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, head of the national response staff against Covid-19, called on the public not to relax vigilance, in spite of the good trends.

He called on the public to act responsibly during the coming April-May holiday period.

In 2021, the Orthodox Easter Friday is on April 30. May 1, Labour Day, falling on a Saturday adds a special public holiday on Tuesday May 4, the day after the Orthodox Easter Monday holiday. May 6, Bulgaria’s St George’s Day, follows on Thursday.

That means that the only two official working days during that time are May 5 and 7, likely to be temptation to many to take leave to create a 10-day break.

Angelov said that no decision had yet been taken about anti-epidemic measures during this period. The system for allowing people to enter Bulgaria was being discussed and a decision was expected by the end of this week or early next week.

This would cover instructions regarding entries into the country, including by people who had completed vaccination, negative PCR or antigen tests, and those who had been through the virus in the past six months.

Angelov said that the Covid-19 epidemic declaration – currently due to expire on April 30 – should be extended “for a month, or two”.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev had tabled a proposal for it to be extended to the end of May.

“The decision is for a month, so as not to hinder the actions and decisions of the future government. If there is a next government, it will be able to revise this decision,” Angelov said.

On April 22, Angelov was due to meet Parliament’s health committee, while the national vaccination headquarters was due to meet to discuss the Janssen vaccine against Covid-19. Earlier this week, the European Medicines Agency said that the benefits of the Janssen vaccine outweighed the risks of side-effects.

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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