Bulgaria confirms 16 new cases of coronavirus (UPDATED)

With the new cases, Bulgaria has a total of 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one coronavirus death

Head of the coronavirus crisis response team General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski

The chief of the coronavirus crisis response team General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski confirmed Thursday afternoon sixteen new cases of COVID-19. All the new cases are in the capital, Sofia. With the new cases, the official numbers are 23 coronavirus infections and one death.

One of the new cases is a contact person of a case from the day before: a doctor, who attended medical conferences abroad over the past weeks and likely contracted the virus there. The newly discovered woman attended one of those conferences as well. She is in worse condition than her colleague and is treated for bilateral pneumonia, while the condition of the previously confirmed case is stable.

The patient in worse condition remains the 74-year-old man, who was admitted on Monday with severe shortness of breath and tested positive for the COVID-19. His wife, who got sick over the course of the day was admitted the next day in critical condition and incubated. The woman had had heart surgery and a heart condition. She died Wednesday afternoon and is to date the only coronavirus case in the country. Her husband is critical and unchanged since Wednesday night.

Six of the new cases were in contact with the two spouses.

Initial reports claimed the husband and wife worked at Ilientsy marketplace, one of the larger in the city. This information turned out to be false, but regardless authorities closed down the marketplace on Thursday for five hours and disinfected the area. Other open-air markets will be disinfected as well, officials said.

The rest of the patients with confirmed COVID-19 are doing well. Hundreds of people who have been in contact with the infected are undergoing tests, some are under quarantine. None are exhibiting any symptoms.

Meanwhile Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova announced one of the district hospitals, II City Hospital will be transformed into an infectious disease hospital. The transformation will take several days. The hospital will take over non-critical coronavirus patients. The severe and critical cases will be treated in the large state clinics.

Schools in Sofia and in some other regions will remain closed due to a flu epidemic, which is coinciding with the coronavirus crisis.

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The original version of this article was published at 6:40 PM and updated an hour later. The update is in the numbers: initially nine new cases were confirmed, four were contacts of the family in Pirigov hospital. Over the next hour additional 7 patients' tests came back positive for the COVID-19.

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