Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Health Minister order halts most scheduled surgeries

Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov has signed an order that would suspend the scheduled admission of patients and most surgeries as part of the measures meant to limit the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

The order, issued late on November 3, is in effect as of November 4 until November 30, which is also the current end date of the epidemic emergency declaration in Bulgaria.

A number of planned medical activities are exempt from the minister’s order – organ, tissue and cell transplants; the diagnostic and treatment of cancer and oncohaematological diseases; assisted reproduction and birth operations; rehabilitation, ongoing treatment and psychiatric assistance.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that this would both reduce pressure on hospitals and allow hospital wards and medical personnel to be used to treat Covid-19 patients.

In the same order, the caretaker Health Minister included a change to the validity of ‘green certificates’. Going forward, a vaccination certificate can be issued after the first shot of a two-jab vaccine, but it would be valid only for a short period, between 15 and 30 days after that first injection.

In other Covid-19 news in Bulgaria, Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved at its weekly sitting about 86.2 million leva in funding for municipalities and several ministries for Covid-19 pandemic-related measures, the government’s media office said in a statement.

The largest amount, about 46.5 million leva, was allocated to the Health Ministry to purchase 1.53 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

The Cabinet statement said that the money would come from the government’s reserve fund, but did not give details about which manufacturers the jabs will be purchased from.

Separately, the Health Ministry was allocated 24.3 million leva for the purchase of 30 000 vials of Remdesivir, the antiviral medicine used to treat Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

Finally, the Cabinet approved 15.4 million leva in funding for schools, kindergartens and after-school activity centres. The money would be used to purchase a range of goods required for the effective implementation of Covid-19 measures – ranging from masks and disinfectant to tests for teachers in cases where the local health inspectorates are experiencing shortages.

The bulk of that money, 13.7 million leva, would go to individual municipalities, as the primary operators of educational facilities, the Cabinet statement said.

The Education Ministry was allocated about 1.5 million leva, with about 159 000 for the Culture Ministry and about 52 000 leva for the Sports Ministry.

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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