With all but three districts in Bulgaria classified as red zones because of the high incidence of Covid-19, Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev has proposed a tougher set of measures to restrict the spread of the virus.
At the regular weekly briefing by Bulgaria’s Health Ministry on November 5, it was confirmed that only the districts of Vidin, Dobrich and Silistra remain in the lesser orange zone.
A red zone means an incidence of 120 cases or more per 100 000 population, while an orange zones means from 60 to 119.9 per 100 000 population.
Bulgaria ranks 13th in morbidity and 10th in mortality in Europe. On the Balkan peninsula, it ranks fourth in morbidity and mortality, it was announced at the Health Ministry briefing.
As The Sofia Globe reported, the national information system reported 4054 newly-confirmed cases of new coronavirus on November 5.
Kunchev called for extending the current set of measures beyond November 12, and adding new ones.
“I do not share the optimism of some in the government that we will achieve a very good result,” he told the briefing.
The additional measures that Kunchev said should be considered include a curfew for all restaurants and other such establishments either of 10pm or 11pm, restricting attendance in offices to no more than 50 per cent, switching all pupils from the fifth to the 12th grades to distance learning and halting all extracurricular actives.
Further, universities should switch to distance learning, there should be “green shopping corridors” for people older than 65, and the Health Minister should be granted the power to decide where specialists are deployed.
Kunchev said that contact medical staff should not be subject to mandatory quarantine, but should remain at work after a negative PCR test on the third day since contact.
“If we do not waste time and if we follow the measures, we will theoretically not reach the levels of the Czech Republic and Belgium, but if the situation worsens, there will be more than 300 deaths a day and more than 10 000 infected per day,” he said.
Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told the briefing that close to 30 per cent of Covid-19 patient treatment beds are currently occupied, while the occupancy rate for intensive care beds is 20 per cent.
Angelov said that there were sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment in Bulgaria.
He said that a delivery of 1700 vials of Remdesivir was expected on November 5, and a further 4300 vials next week.
In a separate announcement on November 5, the district administration in Plovdiv said that the district governor had ordered the opening of an additional 66 beds for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 in three hospitals in the city.
The Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA) said in a November 5 media statement that its members were offering to help the health care system by making available 3500 hotel beds for quarantining of people as well as for accommodation of relatives of patients with Covid-19.
This figure was expected to go up, BHRA said.
It said that precisely which places of accommodation would be included would become clear after the Health Ministry specifies the sanitary requirements the “quarantine hotels” would have to meet, organisational aspects and the conditions for financing the scheme.
The Golden Sands resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast has offered the most beds, 1000.
In Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, hoteliers have offered 300 beds. In the Kavarna district, 200 beds have been offered.
In Bansko, Varna, the area around the Golden Sands and the Sveti Konstantin i Elena resort, 150 beds have been offered.
A hundred beds have been offered in Veliko Turnovo, Velingrad, Primorsko and Shoumen, in Silistra 80, in Rousse and Devin 50 each and in Yambol and Haskovo, 30 beds each, BHRA said.