Covid-19: Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute seeks delay to start of 2021 census

Covid-19: Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute seeks delay to start of 2021 census

The head of Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute, Sergey Tsvetarski, has told a parliamentary committee that the institute wants a delay to the start of the national census, currently scheduled for January 2021, Bulgarian National Radio reported on December 16.

Tsvetarski cited the danger to the health of the public and that of census enumerators because of Covid-19, the report said.

Bulgaria’s national 2021 census is part of an EU-wide exercise scheduled for next year.

A postponement of the start cannot be more than 10 months because the census must take place before the end of 2021.

He said that the enumerators had not been trained yet and it was not appropriate to gather large groups of people in one place.

Currently, Bulgaria’s national census is due to start at midnight on January 22 and continue until 8pm on February 21, involving both in-person and online activities.

Two MPs for Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, Alexander Nenkov and Alexander Ivanov, have tabled amendments in the National Assembly that would enable the government to shift the deadline for the census because of the epidemic.

The two MPs cited the fact that it was impossible to predict what the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria would be in January and February.

Currently, heightened anti-epidemic measures are in place, due to expire on December 21. Health Minister Kostadin Angelov and the national operational HQ have proposed extending the bulk of the heightened measures to January 31, with a review on January 21 to decide what happens from February 1 onwards. A decision on the proposal is expected on December 17.

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