The Bulgarian government is likely to announce a third national lockdown on Monday as the country is hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic, which has left more than 7,000 patients in the country’s hospitals, and approximately 4,600 people testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
Health authorities are proposing the closure of schools, kindergartens, restaurants, shopping malls, gyms, cinemas and theatres, with final decisions to be made on Thursday. Restrictions are set to be implemented in Sofia from Saturday.
Hospitals in the capital are becoming overwhelmed with 75% of the hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 patients now occupied. As of Tuesday, the capital’s hospitals must provide another 20% of beds for COVID-19 patients.
The situation in the city has worsened and there is an increase in children admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
“We are at the limit and we need to think about more serious restrictive measures. Maybe we should take care of the younger children as well. Unfortunately, they will also have to temporarily stop the education in the kindergartens”, the director of the country’s largest emergency hospital, Dr. Asen Baltov, has said.
Restaurants in Bulgaria reopened on 1 March, and kindergartens have been open since 4 January. Only a few days ago, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov announced that the situation in the country was under control.
Bulgaria ranks last in terms of the number of people vaccinated in the EU. Only 4% of Bulgarians have received at least one dose of vaccines so far.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)