In Bulgaria, as in many other countries in Europe, there is an intense debate between experts, politicians and citizens about a model to be applied to combat the Chinese virus.
Opinions range between the extremes – on the one hand, to introduce draconian measures and on the other, to allow for “collective immunity” were neither supported nor implemented.
The Bulgarian government is responsive and balanced. The primary objective of the government, which has been strictly adhered to since the beginning of the pandemic, is to preserve the life and health of the population.
The decision of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria (Parliament) of 13 March 2020 introduced a state of emergency. On 20 March 2020, the National Assembly also adopted the Law on Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency. This act regulates a number of specific socio-economic, health, financial, economic and restraint measures in different segments of social life.
Measures imposed in Bulgaria one of the most liberal in Europe
By the decision of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, a National Operational Headquarters (NSA) was created with the tasks of organizing, coordinating and observing all actions of the competent authorities regarding the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. All approved measures related to limiting the threat of the spread of coronaviruses in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria are introduced by the orders of the relevant ministers and the Minister of Health plays a leading role.
The good results in the control of infections and mortality from COVID-19 are mainly due to timely measures taken, active search for diseased and contact persons, strict adherence to criteria for testing priority populations in accordance with WHO guidelines, rapid isolation of those infected with the coronavirus. There is ongoing monitoring of successful implementation measures around the world, as well as recommendations from internationally recognized healthcare institutions and their adapted implementation in Bulgaria.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Bulgaria has the lowest prevalence of COVID-19, and the per-capita mortality rate is the lowest after Slovakia and Latvia.
The measures implemented in Bulgaria are in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which were timely introduced. For this reason, the possibility of spreading this disease has been greatly reduced. Despite the serious disease situation, in the global context, measures imposed by the Bulgarian government can be characterized as one of the most liberal in Europe.
Among the measures applied in the medical aspect are measuring the temperature of incoming Bulgarian nationals at border crossings, creating special lanes at airports intended for travellers coming from risk countries, distributing information leaflets to persons entering the country and staying in the risk regions, etc. Law enforcement agencies monitor compliance with the mandatory domestic isolation measure within 14 days, imposed on citizens who resided in risk countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly and in a timely manner updates the specific risk indexes relating to different countries, and informs the public regularly. The Ministry also daily updates and releases information to the public about the measures in place in other countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bulgarian government has introduced economic measures to assist the private sector and employers in their efforts to preserve their employees and workers. Part of the assistance provided by the state is a “measure 60/40”. The wage and contribution paid for workers are split between the state and business in a 60/40 ratio. In this way, it is expected that 120,000 jobs will be preserved. The measure is aimed at employers who intend to invest their resources, seeing prospects and wanting to preserve their workers.
Bulgaria is investing in increasing research capacity. The goal is to maintain a testing level of 1 in 1000 people. It is also the EU average. We expect to receive the requested 1 million PCR tests from the EU.
In Bulgaria, on 29 April there are 1437 confirmed coronavirus infection cases, 287 hospitalized, 61 died, 243 were cured.
Since the beginning of April this year, Bulgaria has created and operated a single information portal on the coronavirus. It brings together in one place information on the measures taken to combat COVID-19. The portal is updated daily and statistics from the National Operations Headquarters are published.
Of course, in this extraordinary situation for the whole world, we Bulgarians are also changing our way of life. Citizens do not like all measures but are respecting the need to impose them because people understand these measures are successful preservation in their lives and health.
Ambasador Radko VLAYKOV