Between 80 and 130 new cases of coronavirus infections have been confirmed every day for the past ten days. The upward trend began about two to three weeks after the government lifted most of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Newly confirmed cases dropped to around and under ten per day late May, but numbers drastically increased starting June 9.
In the weeks the government loosened the measures starting late April-early days of May and continuing onward in the following weeks, officials said if cases go up, measures will be brought back immediately. PM Boyko Borissov went on record to say if Bulgaria registers more than 100 cases per 24 hours for three days, all restrictions will be reactivated.
The intent was only expressed verbally and is not impressed in any written guideline, law or regulation.
Initially the heightened numbers were decidedly clustered. However, in the past several days the number of random and unrelated cases are also going up.
Today PM Boyko Borissov said none of the measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus will be reinstated, regardless of the apparent upward trend. In contrast to Bulgaria’s initial reaction to the coronavirus – the country imposed harsh measures immediately after the first four cases were confirmed – this time the government and the PM have decided to opt for verbal guidelines. People should abide by the Three D’s, the PM urged – discipline, distance, disinfection. He argued reintroducing measures now would create panic and will have devastating effects on the economy.
Although the PM does not name a particular sector, the branch, which lobbied most against measures is the hospitality and tourism sector. They managed a number of small victories like pulling different dates to loosen relevant measures up in the schedule, but also achieved an 11% VAT decrease for the whole sector during the lockdown months. The PM has spoken a lot about the hospitality and tourism sector over the past months. He also made some very harsh remarks towards the large number of Bulgarians who went to Greece as soon as the borders opened June 15, instead of supporting the local tourism industry.
To date the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection is 3674. 1543 of those are currently active. 1941 have recovered, while 190 people with the virus have died.
The head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases Dr. Todor Kantardzhiev said that current estimates suggest only 2% of Bulgarians have antibodies to fight COVID-19.
Health Minister Kiril Ananiev explained that 18% of the country’s ICU capacity is currently in use, while 36% of hospital beds meant for respiratory patients are occupied at the moment. He assured this capacity could be increased if the situation worsens.
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