Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister: Time for new restrictions ‘approaching’

The time for new restrictions is “approaching,” Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov said in an interview with bTV on August 19, adding that new measures against the spread of Covid-19 will “probably be introduced as early as next week”.

Katsarov was speaking against a background of national information system figures that show that since the beginning of August 2021, a total of 198 people in Bulgaria who had tested positive for Covid-19 had died, bringing the country’s Covid-19 death toll to 18 411.

Since August 1, the number of active cases has risen from 8296 to 18 119 – an increase of 9823, while the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 has risen from 805 to 2001, an increase of 1196.

According to the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases’ weekly reports, on August 1 all 28 districts in Bulgaria were Covid-19 green zones. As of August 15, a total of 14 out of 28 were orange zones.

Katsarov told bTV that probably in the next few days, almost all of Bulgaria would be a Covid-19 orange zone.

The key point is whether we can provide enough hospital beds, he said, adding “the number of infected is growing too fast”.

The main sources of infection are mass gatherings, Katsarov said.

The option was being considered of no restrictions being imposed on people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, he said.

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev, speaking to Bulgarian National Television on August 19, said that Bulgaria was already in the midst of a fourth wave of Covid-19.

Most affected by Covid-19 is the age group between 20 and 40 years, which was because of the Delta variant, Kunchev said.

It is too early to say what will happen by September 15 – the scheduled date for the opening of schools in Bulgaria – but the Ministry of Education has a plan ready, with the individual steps, according to the development of the situation, he said.

Earlier this week, the caretaker Education Minister addressed Parliament about this plan, but at that stage, it emerged that the plan had not yet been co-ordinated with the Health Ministry.

Kunchev said that there should be a campaign on social networks with messages targeted to individual groups so that a higher rate of vaccination could be achieved.

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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