Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector: Too early to say goodbye to Covid pandemic

It is still too early to say goodbye to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said in an interview with Nova Televizia on March 27.

Kunchev told local media on March 26 that he had opposed terminating the Covid-19 epidemic declaration as of the end of this month and had proposed extending it to May 15.

On the evening of March 26, Bulgaria’s government said in a statement that the epidemic declaration would not be extended beyond March 31, and from April 1, all restrictive measures would fall away.

Kunchev told Nova Televizia that with 300 000 new cases a day in a country close to Bulgaria, such as Germany, it could not be said that things are over.

“No, they are not over,” he said, however adding that the picture was more optimistic.

“They are moving towards what we have all been talking about, that probably – but not soon – Covid will become one of the many respiratory viruses, not so scary…but it will not disappear,” Kunchev said.

Asked if a sixth wave was possible, he said: “It will not be the same.

“I do not believe that we will reach such a huge morbidity as there was in the last wave. Even if it rises, it will not be associated with a very sharp increase in the number of people in need of hospital care and intensive care. That’s what we see in the West,” he said.

Kunchev said that it was probable that a green certificate would be required for some time for entry to Bulgaria, for entry from countries with high morbidity.

“It is also a reciprocal process. The United States and Canada not only require such a certificate, but also require testing on entry.

“One of my proposals is, at least within the EU, to remove this barrier and retain it for third countries with higher morbidity,” Kunchev said.

While Bulgaria’s government has announced the scrapping of anti-epidemic measures from April 1, in Parliament the ruling majority has tabled amendments to the Health Act making provision for measures.

The draft bill, to be discussed by Parliament’s health committee on March 29 and put to the vote in the House later this coming week, envisages the possibility of measures covering the whole country or a specific area for a certain period of time.

The draft proposes making it possible to introduce requirements for people arriving in Bulgaria, such as vaccination certificates.

The draft bill rules out a ban on entry to the country and travel restrictions within the country.

Proposed amendments to the National Health Insurance Fund Act envisage that for three months after the end of the epidemic declaration, the Ministry of Health may continue to provide subsidies to hospitals to maintain their readiness to treat Covid-19 patients.

Health committee chairperson Anton Tonev, of the We Continue the Change party, told reporters that given the information that the epidemic declaration would not continue, those behind the amendments wanted to give the Minister of Health the opportunity to react as needed.

Tonev said that it was possible that some anti-epidemic measures, such as wearing protective masks in indoor places, could be maintained.

He said that it was possible that measures such as financial aid for businesses could be maintained at the levels they have been so far.

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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