Bulgaria under Total Lockdown from Monday, National Operative Headquarters to Come out with New Restrictions Tomorrow

Health | March 17, 2021, Wednesday // 11:31|  views

For the moment, there is no need to impose a curfew in Sofia, Director of Regional Health Inspectorate - Sofia Dr. Pancho Penchev told BNT after it became clear yesterday that a tightening of measures is being considered due to the spike in infections and the mounting pressure on the Sofia hospitals.

Since the beginning of the year on the territory of Sofia-region there have been 21,018 positive cases, with 9,730 new casesfrom March 1 alone. Since 1 January,385 coronavirus patients have died, with 97 in the last 15 days. Infected medical staff in the last 15 days are 163. The number of children in contact with infected in kindergartens and nurseries is 2,957 and among the school students they are 4,131.

Breaking News! Sofia Under Total Lockdown from Friday – Schools, Malls, Gyms, Restaurants, Kindergartens Shut Doors

“We are faced with the situation we had in late October and early November last year, but now things are developing faster. The situation is very serious,” Dr. Penchev is adamant.

Careful assessment of each hospital‘s capacity should be made, such as their bed base, structure, staff, therefore RHI-Sofia evaluates each medical institution individually. The pressure over hospitals is mounting, the dynamics are very high because both people brought in by ambulances to emergency services and persons who come on their own or are sent by general practitioners are hospitalized, Dr. Penchev added.

What will be the new measures?

What the Sofia RHI proposes as measures to curb the spread of the infection is: closing malls, shopping centers, gyms, restaurants for 14 days, starting from Saturday morning (March 20). In addition - kindergartens and nurseries, schools, extracurricular activities to be closed as well as all cultural venues - theaters, operas, cinemas.

The measures are concrete, clear-cut, enter into force at a certain point and are imposed  for a certain time, we monitor the situation closely. We have a huge desire to stop the virus as if with a magic wand, but unfortunately it strikes back in new forms, Dr. Penchev stressed.

Analyzing the situation, we found that control at exit and entrance points to cities did not yield the necessary effect and we are more conservative now in adopting new restrictive measures, he added.

When asked about the special shopping slots for the elderly in the big food chains (the so-called “green lanes”), Dr. Penchev said:

“There has been a period when this measure was neglected, but it continues to work and will continue to be in effect, so the green lanes remain in place.

We have not proposed a ban for beauty parlors and hairdressers, but closed the casinos and dance schools, he said.

As for Sofia hospitals, there are pediatric Covid wards in Pirogov emergency hospital, St. Anna University hospital and the Pediatric Hospital. There are also neonatological beds for newborns, because there are quite a few pregnant women with coronavirus, added the director of RHI-Sofia.

What is the situation with vaccines?

Commenting on the vaccination campaign, Dr. Penchev explained that on Thursday, official opinion of EMA on the Astra Zeneca is expected. On Monday, 21,060 Pfizer vaccines arrived in Bulgaria, and on Friday we are awaiting the first delivery of Moderna, a total of 85,000 doses, which are due to be delivered by the end of March.

With regard to those vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca, CEO of Pirogov emergency hospital, Prof. Asen Baltov commented to NOVA TVthat there are enough doses for the second shot.

"If immunization with this vaccine is not allowed, in my opinion, the option will be considered to seek another vector vaccine. However, the specialists will have the final say,” he said.

According to Prof . Gencho Nachev, CEO of St. Ekaterina University Hospital, there is no room for panic, but if stricter measures are not introduced now, "one day after many victims, people will ask us why we have not introduced them".

Prof. Nachev told bTV that we need to brace for the worst and some hospitals will have to become Covid clinics.

"There is pressure over the health system and hospitals, we see it every day. A month or two ago less than 50% of the beds were occupied, today we passed 75% threshold," he added.

In his words, the reason for high mortality rate is non-compliance with anti-epidemic measures and lack of responsibility in the community.

"We will be able to loosen this tight noose when the number of people who have been sick and vaccinated exceeds 75%," Prof. Nachev concluded.


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Tags: Bulgaria, full lockdown, hospitals, pressure


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