Bulgaria Health Minister warns against complacency as Covid-19 cases decline

Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov hailed the continued decline in the number of coronavirus cases in the country but warned against any complacency during a news conference on April 29.

“What we achieved shows the right way forward. We must not be modest. We achieved a lot compared to other countries,” he said, noting once again that the coronavirus restrictions imposed in Bulgaria were milder than in other European countries.

Angelov said that Bulgarians were “getting back our freedom and normal life” and attributed that to the efforts of everyone who observed the epidemic restrictions imposed by health authorities.

Both Angelov and Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, head of the national response staff against Covid-19, warned against any complacency going forward.

Mutafchiyski held the case of India, which has seen a sharp increase in new cases in recent weeks, as a cautionary tale that Bulgaria should strive to avoid repeating.

Angelov said that, as part of the ministerial orders he would issue to implement the Cabinet’s decision to extend the emergency epidemic declaration, a travel ban on India and several other countries would be put in place.

On the topic of the proposal, tabled by the Bulgarian Socialist Party in Parliament, which would require the Cabinet to open talks about the purchase and delivery of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine, Angelov said that it would put the Health Minister in a position requiring to break the law.

He said that the vaccine required the approval of the European Medicines Agency or changes to Bulgaria’s laws, otherwise any delivery would have to be blocked by customs authorities.

As regards the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the ‘green corridors’ for vaccine jabs during Easter holiday period, Angelov said that the bulk of doses administered would be Pfizer-BioNTech ones.

The head of Bulgaria’s Covid-19 vaccination HQ, Krassimir Gigov, said that of about 775 000 vaccine jabs administered so far in the country, the largest number were Pfizer-BioNTech (about 414 000), followed by Oxford-AstraZeneca with about 256 000 doses and Moderna with about 104 000 jabs.

Asked about the factors contributing to the high number of excess deaths during the pandemic in Bulgaria, Angelov said that the country had one of the highest mortality rates in Europe even before Covid-19.

He said that it was in part due to low degree of prevention and a “lack of health culture”, but steps were being taken to improve in those areas as part of the EU-funded post-coronavirus recovery plans.

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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