Bulgaria closes Sofia after record 65 new coronavirus cases
Topics: BULGARIA SOFIA CORONAVIRUS
The data was confirmed by national coronavirus task force chief, Prof. Ventsislav Moutafchiiski at news briefing on Thursday morning and updated later in the day from the Health Ministry press centre.
The Bulgarian capital will be closed for incoming and outgoing traffic starting 00:00 hours Friday until further notice, it transpired from a news briefing given late on Thursday evening by Prof.
Moutafchiiski, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev and Interior Minister Mladen Marinov at the Council of Ministers.
Ananiev said he has reason to issue an order to close the capital for vehicular traffic starting 00:00 hours on April 17 until further notice.
There will be an exception for cargo transport vehicles, all emergency vehicles, automobiles carrying citizens in need of medical care, vehicles carrying medical staff going to work, electricity distribution, water and sewerage utilities, internet and TV providers.
Vehicles carrying workers to and from work under a very strict schedule and required documentation.
Intercity buses suspend work as well until further notice.
"We underestimated the behaviour of many Sofia residents, who started leaving the capital en-masse yesterday," the Health Minister said.
Interior Minister Marinov said that over 5,000 cars attempting to leave the capital were turned back by the police on Thursday, adding that he is very disappointed by citizens' attitude towards police officers.
Sofia is the worst hot spot, Moutafchiiski said earlier in the day. He noted that the virus curve is rising steeply. The restrictions will not be relaxed for the time being, he added.
Replying to a question, he said that it is too early to say whether the state of emergency, which expires on May 13, will be extended.
The total number of medical staff infected with COVID-19 is 48. A total of 227 patients are hospitalized, including 37 in intensive care. Of the 122 patients who have recovered, six are children. The death tolls stands at 38.
On Thursday a 64-year old man passed away from coronavirus at the Pirogov Hospital in Sofia.
The population will be screened according to target groups and regions as well as randomly.
Public transport drivers are being tested, too, after two of them were confirmed as infected.
In Sofia's predominantly Roma-populated neighbourhoods of Filipovtsi and Fakoulteta, more than 20 people tested positive in 10 extended households. Over 200 tests are expected to be done there. The neighbourhoods have been sealed off, and movements in and out are strictly controlled.
Over 100 people are expected to return, mainly from Britain, to the Village of Panicherevo (Southeastern Bulgaria), and the restrictive measures there are well organized, the Chief State Health Inspector, Dr Angel Kunchev, told the same news briefing.
Panicherevo has been locked down after a coronavirus patient who, having escaped from hospital in nearby Stara Zagora, came home there and apparently spread the contagion to at least six people. ■