Bulgaria’s Turgovishte district downgraded to Covid-19 red zone

Bulgaria’s district of Turgovishte is now a Covid-19 red zone, 12 days after it was classified as a dark red zone, according to an update by the National Centre for Parasitic and Infectious Diseases (NCIPD) on the morbidity rate for the 14-day period ending September 12.

On September 1, Turgovishte was classified as a dark red zone, meaning that it had exceeded the threshold of a morbidity rate exceeding 500 per 100 000 population. It has now fallen below that threshold.

At the time, of the remaining 27 districts in Bulgaria, 15 were classified as red zones (an infection rate of 250 to 499.9 per 100 000 population) and 12 as yellow zones (an infection rate between 100 and 249.9 per 100 000 population).

The latest NCIPD map shows 20 districts in Bulgaria now classified as red zones and eight as yellow zones.

Nationally, Bulgaria now has a Covid-19 morbidity rate of 284.64 per 100 000 population, above the red zone threshold.

Mathematician Professor Nikolai Vitanov told Bulgarian National Television in an interview on September 13 that the country was currently at a peak of the spread of Covid-19, while because of a number of factors, a new peak could be expected soon.

He said that one of the reasons for the situation was that there were people with symptoms who did not formally register, while other factors included the weather conditions, which are worsening, as well as people returning to the large cities as the summer holiday period comes to a close.

The September 15 opening of the school year would also be a factor, with 700 000 pupils and 70 000 teachers heading to classes, he said.

Imposing measures could prevent a second peak, he said. In the previous three waves of Covid-19 in Bulgaria, the measures always worked because they were imposed at the right time.

By the end of September, mortality would be high, and then the figures would ease, before the second peak arrived, he said.

Bulgaria’s Education Ministry said in a statement that Education Minister Nikolai Denkov had issued an order on September 10 that celebrations of the opening of the school year should be in-person, outdoors and at different times for the individual classes.

Heads of schools are required to ensure that celebrations are staggered over a period of time, depending on the number of pupils in the respective classes.

Zones should be created for parents of first-graders and pupils entering the school for the first time, if they want to attend the celebration of the opening of the school year.

Should a regional health inspectorate or district crisis staff have issued specific instructions regarding public gatherings, school celebrations must comply with them. At least, celebrations for pupils in the first, fifth and eighth grades should be held in-person, unless the health authorities have ordered otherwise, according to Denkov’s order.

(Illustration: NCIPD)

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