Covid-19: Bulgaria’s north-central region heads for strictest restrictions as ICU beds fill

A map published by Bulgaria’s government on January 15 shows that intensive care beds in the country’s north-central region are 79.2 per cent full, on the verge of triggering the strictest level of restrictive measures envisaged in the government’s new plan for responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan, announced this week, divides Bulgaria’s 28 districts into six clusters, and categorises the situation into four stages according to the percentage of ICU beds filled.

Stage four begins when 80 per cent of ICU beds in a cluster are filled.

At that stage, only outlets retailing food, drugstores, pharmacies, opticians, pet shops, banks, postal and courier service providers, insurers, payment service providers and telecommunications operators’ offices may remain open to the public.

School pupils from the fifth to 12th grades go over to distance learning. A decision will be made whether pupils from the first to fourth grades may continue attending in-person classes, but there may be no mixing of pupils from different classes. If the first to fourth grades go over to distance learning, it may be for no longer than one week.

Stage four also triggers a new form of business support introduced by the government in the plan.

Eligible for the aid will be micro, small and medium enterprises in all sectors of the economy.

The aid is 20 per cent of the average net revenue of the enterprise for 2021, up to a ceiling of 100 000 leva. It is payable for each day the enterprise is shut down because the region has reached stage four.

The new system also provides for the map to show a five-day projection.

According to the map posted on January 15, in five days’ time the other five regions will remain at stage one.

The map showed the ICU bed occupancy is the south-central region as 51.3 per cent, north-west 51.4 per cent, north-east 50 per cent, south-west 37.9 per cent and south-east 44.6 per cent.

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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