Decision on whether to ease anti-epidemic measures will be made by January 21
The easing of anti-epidemic measures in certain sectors and businesses was discussed at a working meeting convened by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on January 19. It was attended by members of the government and representatives of the National Operational Headquarters (the coronavirus task force). The final decision on whether to ease the measures will be reported to Prime Minister Borissov on Thursday, but if there is a new rise in morbidity and if this results in severe pressure on hospitals, the restrictions will be reconsidered and tightened again.
The sustainable downward trends in the incidence of COVID-19 cases makes possible the students from 5th to 12th grade to return to in-person attendance classes from February 4 this year, from the beginning of the second school term and under a certain scheme.
It is very important to prepare a plan according to which the students will go back to the classrooms. The scheme will be determined by the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health," Prime Minister Borissov said during the working meeting. According to him, the easing of measures for fitness centres and sports activities should be introduced in parallel with the resumption of the in-person attendance in schools.
Prime Minister Borissov also emphasized on the possibility for restaurants to work at a capacity of 50% until 10.30 pm.
"Last but not least, it should be considered that the shops in the malls can work in a clearly defined way, but without the places where many people gather inside the restaurants and without the children's playgrounds," said Prime Minister Borissov.
The Prime Minister added that the current measures have proven that they result in reduction of the pressure on hospitals and save lives and health. "But it also should be communicated with the branch organizations that in updating the restrictions, we will be guided by how the morbidity is moving," PM Borissov stressed to the ministers and representatives of the coronavirus task force.
"The situation in the country is normal, 570 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. We report a slight increase in the percentage of new cases by approximately 1%, with newly hospitalized 86 patients," Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said during the meeting.
Health Minister denied speculations over purchase of specific Covid-19 vaccine.
Claims that Bulgaria relies on the vaccines of a specific company are pure speculations, he said.
Prime Minister Borissov also rejected claims that Bulgaria had deliberately ordered larger quantities of a particular vaccine.
Minitser Angelov added that the contracts for the supply of vaccines are between the European Commission and the manufacturers.
"The only political decision taken by the Bulgarian state is the decision of the National Assembly, which authorizes the EC to negotiate on behalf of Bulgaria quantities and types of vaccines. In this regard, we have not had the opportunity in any form to negotiate quantities of certain manufacturers or to determine the price of vaccines," added the Minister of Health.
PM said that Bulgarians would have equal access to the types of vaccines delivered to Bulgaria and that every Bulgarian citizen will be given the vaccine he/she wants.
In the next two weeks, we expect larger amount of doses, PM said. The head of the task force, Prof. Ventsislav Mutafchyiiski, pointed out that almost every fifth positive test for COVID-19 is questionable for the new variant of the coronavirus, which is much more contagious. "We are waiting for the results of the research, but this should sharpen the attention," Mutafchyiski said.