Covid-19: Bulgaria to issue ‘green certificates’ on basis of antibody tests

Bulgaria will begin issuing Covid “green certificates” on the basis of antibody laboratory test results from November 11 onwards, caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov said on November 9.

The certificate will be valid solely within Bulgaria and will not be valid for international travel.

It will be issued by the National Health Information System, and each certificate will be valid for a period of 90 days.

Katsarov said that the decision to issue the certificates on the basis of antibody tests had been taken after “long discussion, expert discussions”.

Up to now, Bulgaria has issued Covid certificates only on the basis of vaccinations or PCR or antigen test results.

The antibody test must be done at a certified laboratory. The result will have a reference number, which may be used to download the certificate from the National Health Information System website or to receive the certificate from the laboratory that did the test.

The requirement for the certificate is that the level of antibodies exceeds a threshold set by experts consulted by the Health Ministry.

“The requirement is that the test be performed in a laboratory and if the values ​exceed the levels set by experts, a person can receive a certificate that will be valid for 90 days,” Katsarov said.

For this purpose, each laboratory must be integrated into the National Health Information System, to be able to send the results of antibody tests to the system.

Katsarov called for calm about the problems with the supply of Covid-19 tests to schools. As The Sofia Globe reported earlier on November 9, it emerged that schools in 15 out of 28 districts in Bulgaria would remain on distance learning because tests for pupils ordered by the Health Ministry had not arrived.

The Health Ministry contracted with two Bulgarian firms for each to supply 200 000 tests to be used at schools for first to fourth graders. Only one firm so far has complied with the contract, and the tests delivered have been distributed in 13 districts, including capital city Sofia.

According to Katsarov, a further 80 000 tests would be delivered on November 9.

He said that health authorities were doing everything possible for the full amount of tests to be delivered to the Education Ministry “by the end of the week or next Tuesday at the latest”.

Katsarov told the briefing that for the November elections, the Health Ministry had proposed to the Central Election Commission that all members of section commissions and observers should have a “green certificate”. If any did not have one, the health authorities were ready to provide free tests, he said.

The Central Election Commission had turned down this proposal, Katsarov said.

The commission has reiterated that Bulgarian voters will not need “green certificates” to enter polling stations.

(Screenshot of Katsarov from a live broadcast of his news conference)

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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