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Delta variant of coronavirus now dominant in Bulgaria

Health authorities mulling new restrictions

Photo: BGNES

The analysis of 394 clinical samples sent to the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases for sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 show that in 389 samples or 98.7% the Delta variant has been detected, the Ministry of Health has announced. The Alpha variant of the virus was found in the remaining 5 or 1.3% of the samples.

The clinical samples were taken from patients with Covid-19 in the period from 21 July to 12 August. They were sent by 64 different medical establishments in 26 regions of the country.

The health authorities have been warning that in the coming days the number of new daily infections is going to reach 2,500. That is why Chief State Health Inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev is recommending the introduction of nationwide anti-coronavirus measures, as set down in the response plan approved by the Council of Ministers. In Dr. Kunchev’s words, eating and drinking establishments must comply with the 50% capacity rule, and, if need be, mass events must be banned. The alternative to these restrictions, he says, is for the staff, and the clients to be vaccinated.

Leading chain stores have also joined the immunization campaign, by offeringfood vouchers worth 20 Leva(10 euro) if you take a vaccine. For the “Food vouchers for vaccines” campaign the health authorities have provided vaccination teams who will be deployed at the entrances of the shopping centres to administer vaccines. The temporary vaccination sites will open on 3 September and will function until the end of the month.

Yet the public seems to be sceptical, saying that if anyone wants to get a vaccine they will do so with or without a voucher because it is a matter of the free will of citizens.

“Maybe the vouchers will prompt some people to take the vaccine. There are quite a lot of people with low incomes and this might be some kind of incentive for them,” says a woman from Veliko Turnovo in a vox pop conducted by the BNR’s correspondent in the city Zdravka Maslyankova.

“I very much doubt that for a 20 Leva voucher people are going to go and get vaccinated, that is not going to happen,” another man says.

Meanwhile, the people who oppose the anti-epidemic measures are holding a protest march today, organized by civil organizations and political parties against vaccination and the anti-coronavirus measures.

Compiled by Darina Grigorova

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