The Bulgarian government will decide on Wednesday whether to adopt a second lockdown due to the uncontrolled growth of the pandemic, as proposed by Bulgarian Health Minister Kostadin Angelov.
The new restrictive measures are due to take effect on Friday.
According to the proposal, all universities, schools, kindergartens and nurseries are to close, while gatherings, including sports competitions and private celebrations, are to be banned.
Only grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores, banks, insurance offices and postal service providers will stay open.
“Even if we are afraid of our personal income, we are obliged to make this effort to save thousands of lives,” said the health minister. “Only the living and healthy can lift the country out of the crisis”, he said, adding that “a few weeks of discipline will be equal to thousands of lives saved.”
Angelov said such a lockdown should pay off in 21 days.
“I do not want and cannot accept that there is a higher value than life. We cannot afford to lose the lives of young people, adults, doctors and teachers. Every life matters. Now is the time to keep our distance […] Many doctors are ill, their relatives are ill, many doctors have died in the line of duty, “said Angelov, who is also a doctor.
In Bulgaria, there are currently 80,000 active COVID-19 cases, 6,000 patients in hospitals and more than 400 patients in intensive care units, among a total population of less than seven million. Nearly 5% of all doctors in the country are currently ill.
Bulgaria’s COVID-19-related mortality rate ranks first in the EU and second worldwide. However, Bulgaria carries out the fewest tests among EU member states.
“No measure should be too extreme – a balance is needed. In order to increase incomes and pensions, to help businesses, even to buy vaccines or to support hospitals – for all this we must have a working economy,” said Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)