Covid-19: Bulgarian government proposes scrapping mandatory isolation, quarantine

Bulgaria’s Cabinet has approved proposed amendments to the Health Act that, if approved by Parliament, would scrap mandatory isolation of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 as well as mandatory quarantine of contact persons.

A Bulgarian government statement after the September 7 Cabinet meeting noted that on May 5, the World Health Organization had lifted the public health emergency of international concern because of Covid-19.

“After analysing the epidemic situation in Bulgaria, taking into account the low morbidity and the low levels of hospitalisation and mortality, the experts in the Ministry of Health reached a consensus that a legislative change should be proposed, which would allow the cancellation of the currently introduced mandatory isolation and quarantine for Covid-19,” the statement said.

It said that the disease continues to constitute a pandemic due to its worldwide distribution, but does not require the implementation of emergency anti-epidemic measures to control epidemic waves.

“The accumulated immune population and the circulating variants help the disease to pass into a relatively mild form at the moment and the patients do not represent a significant risk factor for the health of society,” the government statement said.

It said that daily reporting of the numbers of dead, ill and hospitalised allowed analysis to be carried out and motivated decisions made on the implementation of anti-epidemic measures in the event of a possible pandemic outbreak in order to protect the lives of those at risk.

According to figures posted on the Bulgarian government’s dedicated portal on Covid-19 in Bulgaria, so far in September a total of four people who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died.

A total of 461 new cases have been reported this month. There are 157 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 13 in intensive care.

The European Commission (EC) said on September 1 that it had authorised the Comirnaty XBB.1.5-adapted Covid-19 vaccine, developed by BioNTech-Pfizer.

Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said on August 31 that the country will receive 1.3 million doses of the vaccine after it is approved for use by the European Commission.

The first delivery of 80 640 doses is planned for the third week of September.

The vaccines the ministry expects to arrive then are indicated for use in adults and people 12 years of age and older.

Delivery of paediatric vaccines intended for the immunisation of children from six months to 11 years of age is also planned for the last week of September.

Vaccines will continue to be administered free of charge to Bulgarian citizens and permanent residents who request it from their general practitioner, at immunisation offices of the regional health inspectorates and at designated medical facilities.

(Archive photo: Plovdiv municipality)

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