Bulgaria to Fast-Test Police, Public Transport and Ambulance Drivers for COVID-19

МС – брифинг -  Бойко Борисов
Photo: БТА

124 – COVID-19 – FAST TESTS - PM

Bulgaria to Fast-Test Police, Public Transport and Ambulance Drivers for COVID-19

Sofia, March 26 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that the medical advisory board proposed to him - and it has been discussed with the coronavirus task force – and a decision was made to do 1,000 fast tests among several groups of people: police, drivers in public transport and ambulance drivers. Borissov was speaking at a news briefing he held late on Thursday after participating in a video-meeting of the European Council.

Bulgaria has 264 confirmed coronavirus cases and three fatalities. Eight patients have recovered completely. This country only does PCR tests of seriously ill patients and people who have been in contact with them, and fast tests are not widely used.

The fast tests will show whether the people have had the coronavirus and have antibodies, the Prime Minister explained. The same people will be retested two weeks later. “Then we will know, statistically, when the peak of the outbreak curve will come,” said Borissov.

He said that the fast tests will be donated and the testing will be free of charge.

The head of the coronavirus task force. Prof. Ventsislav Moutafchiiski, who was also at the news briefing, said that the fast tests will be used to predict the shape of the COVID-19 curve but the tried-and-true PCR has no alternative at this stage of the epidemic and later as it peaks. 

The task force and the medical advisory board have so far disagreed as far as fast tests were concerned: the former were adamant that they are too inaccurate to be used, and the latter argued in favour of large-scale fast-testing.

A representative of the advisory board said at the news briefing that now everybody agrees about what needs to be done with the available resources.

Taking a reporter’s question, the Prime Minister said that he is a deeply religious man and cannot order churches to close to believers ahead and during the Easter holidays.

Borissov also said that he finds it pointless to have a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security with the President. “There is nothing for this Council to decide,” he said. He also said that he no longer have his daily conferences with President Rumen Radev amid the coronavirus crisis after the President criticized the government in a statement where he announced he was imposing a partial veto on a national emergency law.

Commenting the video meeting of the European Council, Borissov said it was focused on COVID-19, the EU external borders, relations with Turkey, the issues facing the member states and what needs to be done to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. He said that the member states have now started to consider possible scenarios, a common conclusion and solutions. LN/

Source: Sofia