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British coronavirus variant poses serious risk to Bulgaria

For the time being, Bulgaria eases measures in education only

Photo: BGNES

The British coronavirus variant is already in Bulgaria and will start gaining momentum, this country’s health authorities warned at the regular weekly briefing of the National Coronavirus Headquarters. For now, it is sure that after January 31, when the emergency epidemic situation expires, only measures regarding the return of students from the upper grades and the opening of gyms will be relaxed.

We will monitor the number of infected people and the number of coronavirus fatalities until the end of January and on that basis we will decide what else we can open, said this country’s Premier Boyko Borissov, who also participated at the briefing. Bulgaria is currently a small oasis and it would be very risky to ease too many measures, Borissov went on to say. In his view, this would lead to high morbidity and mortality, given the quick spread of the new Covid-19 strain.

As for the ultimatum of the Bulgarian restaurateurs that they will open their catering establishments on February 1, regardless of the decision of the authorities, Boyko Borissov replied that this was their right. Bulgaria’s Premier quoted data showing that out of 30,000 people employed in the catering industry, only 6,300 have applied for state support. Premier Borissov also said that a posible extension of the emergency epidemic situation after January 31 would cost the state an extra EUR 50 million for additional compensations tobusinesses closed over Covid-19.

The number of recoveries continues to be several times higher than the number of newly infected, said Bulgaria’s Minister of Health Professor Kostadin Angelov. However, this situation may change with the spread of the new British coronavirus variant, this country‘s Chief State Health Inspector Associate Professor Angel Kunchev warned. In his words, the good news is that the new strain does not causes more serious symptoms of coronavirus infection, but it spreads much faster. Mortality may increase significantly, ashospitals are running out of resources, the head of the National Coronavirus Headquarters General Ventsislav Mutafchiiski added. Currently, ten people in Bulgaria infect 5 or 6.

31,456 people have recovered and 2,993 have been diagnosed with coronavirus infection in the past week. 29% of the hospital beds for patients with light and moderate symptoms of coronavirus infection and 43% of the Covid-19 beds in intensive care wards are occupied at present. Lowest morbidity rate has been registered in the town of Razgrad- 59 cases per 100,000 people. Highest morbidity has been registered in Vratsa in the past week.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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