Bulgaria registers 174 new coronavirus cases

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev says government will reinstate measures if cases reach 200 mark

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev (right)

In the past three weeks, save for a day, Bulgaria has been registering over 100 daily confirmed cases of coronavirus infections. Before this upward trend began, the government revoked most measures to stop the spread of the virus. The numbers were low, and the government was eager to lift restrictions to help the tourist and hospitality industries. PM Boyko Borissov pledged during one of the press briefings held to announce the successive bundle of measures lifted, that if Bulgaria registers more than 100 cases daily for three days in a row, that all restrictions will be imposed again.

But, after a number of consecutive days with cases reaching far over 100, Borissov announced several times the government will not reinstate any of the previous restrictions. The only exception – bringing back the rule for mandatory masks in closed public spaces. He explained his motives for refusing to do anything with not wanting to instill panic among the public. He also said on one occasion that there really is no reason to impose restrictions as any one is free to self-isolate, and they should do so if they fear infection.

Today, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev echoed the PM’s stance but opened the door for possible measures in the event daily cases pass 200.

"We are not planning new measures for now, but this does not mean we are not observing the process closely. If it escalates, we are ready to take the necessary measures at any time."

The minister clarified that while there is no clear definition for what constitutes an "escalation", for him, passing the 200-threshold would be "a serious signal that the measures must be brought back."  

According to hospital directors’ estimates, the medical facilities will reach their full capacity if Bulgaria’s daily cases count reaches 300.

Over the past 24 hours the new confirmed coronavirus infections were 174. The capital Sofia registered a new record with 86 new cases. With the new cases, the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Bulgaria are 5914, 2664 of those are currently active. 470 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalized and 26 are in ISUs Four new deaths have occurred in the past day, bringing the total number of fatalities to 250.

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