Bulgarian PM Borissov: No More Lockdowns Needed for Now

Domestic | February 8, 2021, Monday // 13:17|  views

 

Bulgaria is in the initial phase of an upsurge in morbidity, and the number of patients with COVID-19 in medical institutions is also increasing, albeit slightly. At the same time, the vaccination process is stepped-up. The payment of additional BGN 1,000 to all medical teams on the frontline of the battle with the novel virus continues

A further BGN 50 million has been transferred to the National Revenue Agency in order to continue the payment to the sectors under lockdown, the implementation of all other anti-crisis measures in support of business and citizens is also underway. This was reported at a working meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, attended by Health Minister Kostadin Angelov, Economy Minister Lachezar Borisov, representatives of the National Operational Headquarters and the vaccination task force.

"In Bulgaria, we apply the most correct and liberal measures, no matter that some dispute them. Our doctors and medical workers promptly implemented the new treatment protocols, so the number of people cured has already almost reached the number of infected", Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said during the working meeting.

The Prime Minister stressed that the anti-epidemic measures have been implemented in exacting manner, and businesses were restricted only where crowding was unavoidable, which allowed to ensure the free movement of people.

"So we continue in the same vein, at the moment nothing more should be closed, on the contrary- in small settlements, where in one shift the entire school is 70-80 people, let the children go to school. Be flexible", Prime Minister Borisov addressed Health Minister Kostadin Angelov.

The Prime Minister insisted that decisions on in-person learning  in different municipalities be made locally, and teachers are pushing for such an approach.

"With the scaleup of the vaccination process and the increase in the number of recovered, in April, May, June the state may have already emerged from this crisis," the Prime Minister noted.

Borisov pointed out that since the supplies of vaccines are already regular, mass-scale vaccinations may begin, and employees such as police officers, military, teachers working in theaters, etc may be inoculated in full.

Head of the NOH Cen. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski reported that in the last week the number of patients with the new virus in medical institutions is up by 10 percent, and the increase in morbidity on a 14-day basis is about 40 percent. The lowest rate of new cases was 80 per 100,000, and is currently 128 per 100,000.

The Chief Health Inspector and Member of the NOH Assoc. Prof. Angel Kunchev noted that the goal is that with the anti-epidemic measures applied, the observed increase in morbidity is not too fast and dramatic.

"The biggest mistake in this situation will be to succumb to emotion and take wrong decisions. We have the strength to cope, the vaccination front is expanding. The more vaccinated there are, the more we reduce the virus‘ scope of action, so sooner or later things will start changing for the better," said Assoc. Prof. Kunchev.

Health Minister Prof . Kostadin Angelov emphasized that as of today mass vaccination begins of all who fall into the second and third phases of the immunization program.

"In the education system, we expect a response to parents' desire to test all school students. Our main goal is to provide a safe environment for attendance in schools," the health minister added.

Prof. Angelov refuted false allegations about the suspension of the of BGN 1,000 pay to frontline medics in the health care system and beyond. The health minister stressed that the funds were ensured, payment continues and the government would support every single medic in the battle with COVID-19.

The Director of the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases and NOH member Prof. Todor Kantardzhiev informed that there were currently no proven cases of flu A and B in Bulgaria, since the anti-epidemic measures are effective and mainly Covid-19 is spreading. So far, there are no proven cases of the new strains of the coronavirus - Latin American and South African in Bulgaria.

The CEO of the BulgarianDrug Agency (BDA)Bogdan Kirilov stressed that the supply of vaccines is significantly increasing and in the first week of March alone we expect over 160,000 doses. Kirilov informed that the European Medicines Agency is conducting a preliminary review of the Novavax vaccine and the European Commission is expected to conclude a supply contract with its manufacturer in the coming weeks, which will be the seventh vaccine in the EU portfolio and the first antigen vaccine.

With regard to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the CEO of BDA said that the European Medicines Agency is still carrying out scientific consultations as there is insufficient data on it.

Economy Minister Lachezar Borisov reported to Prime Minister Borissov that the accelerated work of the government on the implementation of anti-crisis measures in support of business is being discussed as well as the inclusion of new support measures.

The Minister stated that following the permission of the Ministry of Finance an additional BGN 50 million was transferred to the National Revenue Agency last week in order to continue payments to the closed sectors.

"Together with the business community, we agreed that the measure will be in effect in February and on Friday the first request was sent to the EC regarding the notification and further implementation of the measure in February", said Lachezar Borisov.

The Minister of Economy informed that he has discussed with the nationally represented employers' organizations how another BGN 211 million will be spent under the REACT-EU Mechanism of the European Union.

"The funds will again be spent on working capital and liquidity support for the business, and the first measure will be launched within 10 days after a decision of the Monitoring Committee and the Council of Ministers on which we have received notification from the EC as early as December", noted the Minister.

He reported that the funds that have reached the business thanks to the measures of the Bulgarian Development Bank so far are worth over BGN 300 million. To this date, BGN 816 million has been paid under the measure, with around 300,000 jobs saved. According to the "Keep me” jobs support measure the funds that reached the business are BGN 18 million and helped keep intact 42,000 jobs.

 

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Tags: Bulgaria, Council of Ministers, new decisions

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