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COVID-19 in Bulgaria: Day 26

| updated on 4/2/20 7:52 PM
Photo: EPA/BGNES

School-goers will return to classrooms no earlier than 14 May

There is no risk, as yet, to the school year if the state of emergency is lifted on 13 May, said Minister of Education Krasimir Valchev. In his words, the matriculation exams will probably be postponed and will take place on 30 May or 1 June, and applying for schools after the 7th grade will be on 13-15 June. The Ministry of Education is ready to issue 12th grade diplomas earlier if a given European university advances its entrance exams.

25 people in Bulgaria have recovered fully from COVID-19

The number of new laboratory confirmed cases on 2 April is 8, all of them from Sofia.The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria is 457, according to data of the National Crisis Staff.The number of patients who have recovered and have been discharged after hospital treatment is 25.179 people with confirmed COVID-19 are under medical care in hospital, 18 of them in intensive care.The average age of the deceased has dropped from 66 to 61.7. There are more men infected with the virus in Bulgaria - 258, the number of women is 199. 

Number of COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria is probably several times higher than the officially registered

Only two in 11 COVID-19 cases are officially registered. That is why we must strictly follow the principle of physical distancing, the head of the National Crisis Staff  Major General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski said, and recommended “fanatical observance of social distancing”. Once the number of infected people stops growing, we will report to the Bulgarian government that the emergency measures can become less stringent, Professor Mutafchiyski added.

The testing of MPs and National Assembly staff continues, according to BNR information, the tests of another 30 MPs are yet to be returned. Meanwhile, Daniela Daritkova, chairperson of the parliamentary group of GERB party, and Daniela Maleshkova, MP from the same party have tested positive for coronavirus. They are in good condition and have no health complaints, and will remain in quarantine at home for 28 days. This brings the number of Bulgarian MPs with confirmed coronavirus up to three.

More than 200 policemen have already been tested for coronavirus and none of them are positive. But the tendency of infection among medical staff is serious – 20 cases have been confirmed among medical staff.

Medical experts predict low mortality from COVID-19 in Bulgaria

We are still at the beginning of the epidemic, Prof. Kosta Kostov, Coordinator of the Medical Expert Council with the Bulgarian Government, told the Bulgarian National Radio. According to the international experience examined so far, the council believes that the virus is more dangerous and deadly than influenza viruses, but the experts are not yet convinced that COVID-19 is more deadly than previous outbreaks of coronaviruses in 2003, 2010 and 2011. Considering the current fatalities rate from COVID-19 in Bulgaria, the experts hope that if all measures are strictly observed, the epidemic will be overcome. Professor Kostov said that the current movement of the COVID-19 curve gave him hope that there might not be a high mortality peak in Bulgaria.

One-third of employers plan to cut stuff due to coronavirus crisis

No more than 8% of Bulgarian employers would avail themselves of the measure in support of businesses for the period of the COVID-19 crisis, providing for the payment of salaries in the ratio of 60/40, respectively by the state and the entrepreneur, a quick online survey conducted by the Bulgarian Industrial Association indicates. 33% of the surveyed employers plan to partially cut staff due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, and 10% - to temporarily reduce wages.

Increase in the number of applications for social benefits

In just one day 4,700 unemployed Bulgarians were registered at employment offices, said Minister of Labour and Social Policy Denitsa Sacheva. This is one of the reasons why the government asked for an update of the budget, so as to be able to respond to the increasing number of applications for social benefits. 23,000 people are currently on social benefits, but 2,500 lose their jobs every day since the start of the pandemic. 45 million Leva has been channeled for community care. More than 17,000 will receive warm lunch, and 45,000 people in need will be given food packages.

142,000 Bulgarians have returned home because of the state of emergency

The number of Bulgarians who have left the country is almost the same, the Border Police Chief Commissioner Svetlan Kichikov from Bulgaria's Border Police said. According to Kichikov, the peak in the numbers of returning Bulgarians has already passed. Commissioner Kichikov also pointed out that the processing of one heavy-duty truck takes up to 3 minutes at the border crossing checkpoints with Greece and Romania along the green corridors introduced for quick passage of freight vehicles. Together with the customs controls, the stay of one trick at a border crossing rarely exceeds 15 minutes.

Complete isolation reduces rate of COVID-19 infections by half

The lives of 59,000 people have been saved thanks to this measure, Dr. Velislava Petrova, molecular biologist and health innovations consultant at the United Nations said. The number of people infected with coronavirus is much higher than the number of tested. Testing is insufficient and does not give us the full picture of the situation, she added. China’s experience shows that what is needed is massive testing. However, it takes financial and human resources to process the tests, Dr. Petrova quoted the Imperial college London report. 

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