Bulgaria lifts requirement for PCR test to end quarantine after infection

The country is seeing a rapid rise in daily cases but government does not plan on new measures for now

Dr. Angel Kounchev (left) Health Minister Kostadin Angelov (right)

The government announced it will lift the measure, requiring a PCR test to end the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis. The Coronavirus Crisis Response Team explained the move with new scientific data, which suggest patients no longer spreads the virus after the two-week period. The measure applies to patients with a coronavirus infection, who are not hospitalized. Till now, the 14-day long quarantine, which is imposed on all coronavirus positive cases, could only be revoked after the patient tests negative for the virus. This led many quarantines to lag out for a month.

"Most European countries never even introduced a requirement for a negative PCR test to end the quarantine, [the latter was automatically lifted after 14 days. We added the measure to be extra safe. More and more data emerges, and more and more countries revoke the measure. The next step we anticipate is to shorten the 14-day quarantine period because the first 4-5 European countries already moved to a ten-day quarantine. Some countries even [shortened it] to seven days. A person can produce positive tests for months on and not be contagious. Positive and contagious are not the same thing," the Chief National Health Inspector Angel Kounchev said.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria registers a rapid rise in daily cases today and yesterday – both – records: 436 new cases were reported yesterday and 437 today. This is nearly double the most registered daily cases as of Tuesday. The total number of tests over the past 24 hours was 4541, when brings the positive rate to nearly 10%. The number of new infections among medical staff is also concerning – 26 in the last day, bringing the total to 1263. Since the first COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria were confirmed back in March, 837 people infected with the virus have died. 22743 are the total number of registered cases, 6422 of them are currently active. 15448 have recovered. 1033 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, 53 of those are in ICUs.

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