(DF) COVID-19 Infection Rate in Bulgaria Is 143 per 100,000

February 11 (BTA) – The COVID-19 infection rate in Bulgaria now stands at 143 per 100,000 population, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told a regular weekly news briefing on the coronavirus situation here on Thursday. The positive tests tended to increase over the last week, he added. The proportion of occupied hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients is larger in the regions of Varna, Pazardjik, Silistra, Sofia, Haskovo and Shoumen. When the infection rate reaches 200 per 100,000 over a 14-day period, additional epidemic-control measures will be taken, Prof. Angelov specified. The Chief State Health Inspector, Assoc. Prof. Angel Kounchev, said that Greece, Bulgaria and Finland register the lowest infection rate in Europe. In terms of lethality, Bulgaria ranks 15th in the EU, he said. The Chair of the National Coronavirus Task Force, Prof. Ventsislav Moutafchiiski, told the news briefing that hospitalized cases have increased by more than 15 per cent compared to last week. The Health Minister said that arrangements have been made for the start of Phase Four of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Plan after March 5. Phase Four is reserved for people over 65 and such with chronic co-morbidities. The export of oxygen and particular medicinal products has been banned by an order, which will be revoked when there is no short supply in the country and Bulgarian citizens’ interests will be the guiding principle, Prof. Angelov said. Bulgarian Drug Agency Executive Director Bogdan Kirilov said that over 35,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in Bulgaria: 6,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday and 31,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday. A total of 260,000 doses of the AstraZeneca product and some 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty are due until the end of this month. The European Commission has yet to confirm the specific deliveries of all vaccines in March, which are estimated at over 400,000 altogether. An extra 460,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected by July. Prof. Angelov said that a document on the conduct of safe balloting will be issued 45 days ahead of the April 4 parliamentary elections, and a final version will be presented not later than February 18. “We are concerned about the vaccination of all members of the election commissions of the various levels and have called for designating their complements earlier,” the Health Minister said. Election commission members must receive the first dose of the vaccine not later than March 5. RI/LG //