Bulgaria Focuses on Returnees from Italy as it Phases in Measures against Novel Coronavirus, Nobody Is Infected

February 25 (BTA) - Bulgaria focuses on returnees from Italy as it is phasing in measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus. Nobody in this country has been infected, the head of the Military Medical Academy in Sofia, Gen. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski, told journalists here Tuesday.

The Military Medical Academy is best fit to take in patients with highly contagious diseases.

All airports are being screened with thermal cameras, Mutafchiiski said, adding that another hundred cameras will be installed across all border crossings in Bulgaria. The cameras are expected to arrive at the end of this week.

Bulgarian flag carrier Bulgaria Air cancels its flights to and from Milan, Italy, between February 25 and March 27.

The Interior Ministry reported that a training on how to react in case of detecting a coronavirus case was held at Sofia Airport on Tuesday.

Some 35,000 people have crossed Bulgarian border checkpoints in the past 24 hours, including 12,500 vehicles that have passed through the land border, Gen. Mutafchiiski explained.

Pamphlets for incoming foreigners have been printed, which include measures against the spread of the contagious disease, as well as information about who to turn to for help. Foreign citizens, as well as people who do not have a general practitioner, can turn to the regional health inspectorate for assistance.

The Health Ministry opened a 24/7 hotline for questions related to the coronavirus.

Gen. Mutafchiiski called on everyone arriving to Bulgaria to not refuse medical supervision or being placed in quarantine, explaining that those who refuse will be escorted to a health care facility.

Public events have not been banned, but indoors military events on the occasion of Bulgaria's national holiday, March 3, have been cancelled.

A few people are in hospital for supervision. Three have been admitted to a hospital in the southern city of Plovdiv after returning from Italy and are awaiting their coronavirus test results. The three are in good general health and have been placed in isolation and under supervision.

Three residents of the southeastern city of Haskovo, who came back a few days ago from Milan, have been recommended to be quarantined for 14 days at home as a preventative measure. The three, a male, a female and a child, are not showing any symptoms of the disease.

Commenting the Government's calls for people returning from Italy to voluntarily place themselves in home quarantine for 14 days, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) said that no such thing as "voluntary quarantine" exists in the legal framework, while people can be placed in isolation only after sick leave authorization has been issued by a medical practitioner. This can lead to additional difficulties, chaos and contradictions, including unnecessary disputes between workers and employers in certain cases, CITUB warn.

The Bulgarian football club Ludogorets reported on their website that they have been informed by UEFA that their scheduled Europa League match with the Inter Milan football club on Thursday will be played in an empty stadium at San Siro in the northern Italian city of Milan. LN/MY


Source: Sofia