“No matter how prepared a system is, this degree of pressure is unsustainable; our doctors and nurses will not be able to take it. I am ready to assume any responsibility, but we can not lose the lives of patients, doctors, teachers. Now is the time to be there for each other. My mind and heart tell me that we must take new steps to break the chain of infection”.
With these words, Bulgaria’s Minister of Health, Professor Konstantin Angelov, announced the proposal for stronger and stricter measures throughout the country, which will enter into force on Friday.
The Minister of Health announced that today he had tabled his proposals to the Prime Minister and the coalition partners. “I proposed that these measures enter into force on Friday 27 November. They will be discussed in the Council of Ministers and a decision will be made”, he said.
“I proposed to extend the duration of the state of emergency against the epidemic by 4 months, that is, until the end of March 2021”.
Measures also include the cessation of in-class teaching and internships at all universities, schools, kindergartens, day-cares, as well as of extracurricular activities and hobbies.
“Online education will be offered to all academic institutions in the country”, Angelov said.
“Suspension of business in all commercial stores, department stores, restaurants, fast food restaurants, patisseries, etc., except for grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, insurance companies, post offices.
Restaurants will be able to operate only for house deliveries, while the ban in bars, discos and nightclubs will continue”, Angelov continued.
In addition, “there will be no restriction on public transport activity. There will be no checkpoints and no traffic restrictions between cities”, Angelov said, adding that “this measure has proven ineffective over time”.
We are not imposing a general lockdown; we believe that we will impose it together. That way you will become heroes in your homes”, said Professor Konstantin Angelov.
“We have a duty to make this effort. Because only living people can build a country. A few weeks of discipline will save thousands of lives. If the measures work, we will consider relaxing them for Christmas. I want to buy time for the system of at least one month”, Professor Konstantin Angelov explained.
“It is more important to breathe fresh air into the healthcare system”, he said, supporting the new measures against the spread of the epidemic.
He assured that the health authorities are constantly monitoring all indicators of the spread of the virus -the number of patients, infected doctors and teachers, as well as young people, stressing: “We are monitoring the numbers daily and, depending on their trends, we will make decisions.
There is no room for panic, no room for concern. This battle will be won, and it will be won with rationality, intelligence and discipline”, said Professor Angelov.
He expects all his fellow Ministers to support the more draconian measures, as the health care system depends on them.
“The epidemic will not jeopardize the upcoming parliamentary elections. The electoral process will not be affected”, Angelov clarified.
He also stressed that the issue of border crossing will be discussed in the Council of Ministers.
“These measures are expected to yield results in at least 8 days, based on scientific data”, the Minister of Health added.
The Minister also announced that the “green corridor” for shopping for the elderly in grocery stores will be changed and will remain only in the morning. However, the timetable remains to be clarified at the government meeting.
As for the provision for the provision of a PCR test for admission to a COVID-19 facility in a hospital, Angelov announced that it would change as well.
Before the Minister of Health announced that stricter measures would be imposed, State Health Inspector Professor Angel Kunchev announced that, in Bulgaria, the increase in the morbidity rate is over 100% on a weekly basis.
Bulgaria ranks 11th in the EU, with a ratio of 666.5 COVID-19 related deaths per 100,000.
Gabrovo, Kyustendil and the city of Sofia are the areas with the highest numbers of infections.
The director of “Pirogov”, Prof. Asen Baltov informed that the number of active coronavirus cases and outbreaks involving doctors and nurses extends beyond 2,000.
The chairman of the Health Committee and head of the Military Medical Academy, Professor Ventsislav Mutafchiiski, also noted the extremely high pressure hospitals are facing. He spoke of the coronavirus re-infection of two doctors, a nurse and a secretary. A total of 4 doctors re-tested positive for COVID-19, with the period between the two infections vacillating from 2 to 8 months.
For his part, the director of the Alexandrovska hospital announced that 184 beds at the medical facility were being occupied by COVID-19 patients. The management is ready to add more than 100 beds, however there is no one to serve them. He called on medical students and doctors from clinics to join the battle against the infection. /ibna