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COVID-19 in Bulgaria: Day 27

| updated on 4/3/20 9:20 PM
Photo: Ani Petrova

Bulgarian Parliament approves extension of state of emergency until May 13 at first reading
The Bulgarian Parliament has approved at first reading the proposal of the cabinet to extend the state of emergency in Bulgaria until May 13, 2020. A total of 122 MPs voted In favour of the proposal, 47 MPs voted against, and 7 abstained from voting. 
The second reading of the proposal in the plenary hall is expected to take place on Monday,  April 6.

Average age of COVID-19 patients in Bulgaria is 47 years

So far, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in Bulgaria are 485, the latest data from the National Crisis Staff shows. On April 3, 8 new cases have been confirmed. The average age of the infected people is 47 years. 275 of those registered to have the infection are men and 210 are women. 22 patients are medics.The death toll is already 14. The latter fatality is an 86-year-old man with severe additional conditions. 173 patients with confirmed COVID-19 are now under hospital treatment. 21 of them are in intensive care units.

Bulgaria’s President calls for revising some of the emergency measures against COVID-19

President Rumen Radev has voiced his concern over the ongoing social isolation and its toll on the mental and physical health of citizens. The Bulgarian head of state said this in a statement regarding the proposal of the Bulgarian cabinet that the state of emergency in Bulgaria should be extended until May 13."The pandemic requires decisive measures and Bulgarian society has accepted them with understanding," President Rumen Radev said, pointing out that the extraordinary restrictions have slowed down the spread of the disease but have led to social paralysis and triggered an unprecedented social and economic crisis.

Unemployment is rising fast and hunger can soon outweigh fear, President Radev warned. "When the state imposes restrictions, it must offer adequate compensation to both workers and businesses," the President added. He pointed out the need for urgent review of some provisions of the adopted emergency law that block economic life.

Social isolation is imperative in fight against Covid-19

According to a report prepared by the Medical Expert Council assisting the Bulgarian government in combating the spread of coronavirus in Bulgaria, the social isolation measures implemented so far are imperative, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said at an emergency briefing, stressing that the peak of the outbreak would most probably hit in the next 2-3 weeks. In the course of the epidemic these measures can be rethought and if conditions are favorable, they could be eased. According to experts, the diagnosis of infection should be based on PCR tests and epidemiological follow-up can be accomplished through the combined use of other laboratory methods.

PM Borissov added that Bulgaria has called on the EU for the delivery of one million test kits for Covid-19. Borissov has also issued orders for the manufacturing of 2 million masks which are to be given out to people free of charge.

Bulgaria to buy medicines against COVID-19 from China

At an extraordinary video-conference meeting, the government has approved two draft agreements that the Ministry of Health is about to sign with China National Pharmaceutical Foreign Trade Corporation. Bulgaria will buy Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate and Azithromycin Dispersible, needed to treat patients with COVID-19.

Foreign Minister Zaharieva calls on NATO to actively join fight against coronavirus

"Although it is not on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus, NATO must continue to play an important role - civilian and military capabilities must respond in full coordination, that's what our citizens expect." This what Bulgarian Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva told her NATO counterparts during the Alliance's first ever video conference. Minister Zaharieva called on NATO to assist the EU in its efforts to supply needed medicines and medical equipment from third countries.

Dramatic drop in traffic in Bulgaria, study shows

A 66% drop in visits to shopping and leisure facilities, 36% less visits to market outlets, drugstores and pharmacies, passengers at bus stations, train stations and metro stations are reduced by 58%. Travels to jobs are reduced by one third. This is indicated by the data on the effect of the quarantine in Bulgaria, published by the company Alphabet. Data for Bulgaria for the period from February 16 to March 31 are part of an array of data referring to 131 countries. The numbers are relative and only outline trends because the company collects them through Location History on smartphones. The real situation is much more dramatic, experts from Alphabet comment.

Parliamentary Budget Committee adopts update of Budget 2020

With 13 votes in favor, 6 against and one abstention, the Parliamentary Budget Committee adopted at first reading the Budget 2020 update, which is designed to absorb the shock to the economy caused by Covid-19. The bill envisages raising the limit for new debt from 1.1 billion euros to over 5 billion euros.The country’s GDP is expected to decline by 3% this year. According to government estimates, unemployment rate is expected to rise by about 2% in comparison to 2019 to the level of 6.2%. Export of goods and services will fall by more than 16% overall, with export of services that includes tourism and transport dropping nearly 26%.

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister calls on EU to suspend Mobility Package

The urgent tasks are to continue the fight against the coronavirus and to work in support of the economies and the common market in the EU, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva stated during an online meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. The EU's green corridors for transporting goods and citizens are functioning better than 10 days ago, when it was decided to introduce them, Zaharieva said. She urged Brussels not to give the green light to the Mobility Package, which also damages Bulgarian carriers. We need to explain more clearly what the EU is doing in support of its citizens, Zaharieva urged.

You can find all stories and important publications related to COVID-19 in Bulgaria at our special coverage section in English.

You can also follow all latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak and all measures in Bulgaria in all other 8 languages of Radio Bulgaria.

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