Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister pensions off NCIPD head Kantardzhiev

Staff of Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) protested outside the Health Ministry on June 7 after it was confirmed that caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov had sent the centre’s head Professor Todor Kantardzhiev on pension.

Kantardzhiev, 66, has worked in various capacities at the NCIPD since 1988 but has achieved notable prominence in recent months as a member of the national operational headquarters against Covid-19, set up by the previous government.

As a member of the national operational HQ, Kantardzhiev frequently took part in its weekly news conferences and gave several broadcast interviews.

His removal from office comes against the background of numerous replacements of senior officials by the Stefan Yanev caretaker government.

In its closing days, the Boiko Borissov government disbanded the national operational HQ, but informally restored it after a public outcry. After coming to power, the caretaker government said that it was leaving matters as they were, with the national operational HQ disbanded.

Professor Iva Hristova, until now one of Kantardzhiev’s deputies, has been appointed to act in his stead until a permanent appointment is made.

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