President Urges Government to Inform Public about Effect of First Month of National Emergency, Calls for Return to Normal Life the Soonest Possible
Sofia, April 3 (BTA) - Reacting to the government's proposal to
extend the national emergency by another month, President Rumen
Radev said in a statement Friday that the government should tell
people what the effect has been of the first month in a state
of emergency and reiterated that return to normal life the
soonest possible should be a national objective. "We should set
ourselves a clear national objective: that we must return to a
relatively normal life, production and free movement of people
and goods in the quickest possible controlled and safe manner."
The government seeks to prolong to May 13 the state of emergency
declared on March 13.
Radev said the Government owes the public convincing information
about the effect of the first month of the state of emergency.
Governance decisions should be made on the basis of reliable
comprehensive data. While the lockdown slows the infection rate,
it has paralysed society and triggered an unprecedented social
and economic crisis, said the head of State.
"Penury is not an escape from the virus. Hunger may soon
overcome fear and the consequences may be more destructive than
the coronavirus itself," the President said.
The healthcare system, together with the other socially
important systems, should opt for a more flexible strategy for
fighting the coronavirus and should considerably expand the
scope of testing. The focus on the coronavirus should not hamper
access to healthcare for people with chronic conditions and
emergency cases, which puts at risk the life of thousands of
Bulgarians, according to Radev.
The President stressed that some measures envisaged in the state
of emergency law and the subsequent Council of Ministers'
decrees are viewed by the public and businesses as insufficient
or even as ill-considered. People need help, not an offer of a
loan. The economic measures will not help out the key segment -
small and medium-sized businesses, and the "60/40" formula is
practically infeasible, according to Radev.
Certain provisions of the law, which was adopted hastily and
amid chaos, block the economic life and should be revised
urgently, the President said.
Radev noted that the Government is resorting to a loan of up to
10 billion leva before tapping the budget reserves and
rethinking its priorities. He said: "This is an onerous decision
for which we will have to pay for years ahead. We expect
guarantees for transparency and clear plans for financial
support to all affected."
The President stressed that "along with all problems and
troubles, the crisis highlighted the need for the State to be a
pillar of stability and brought us back the sense of
Reacting to the President's statement, Prime Minister Boyko
Borissov told reporters in the southern town of Smolyan: "If the
President believes the state of emergency [in Bulgaria] is
different to what is being done worldwide, he can veto it, then
I will pull GERB out of Parliament [so the veto can go through]
and leave the people without a lockdown to perish."
Social isolation is the only recognized practice amid the
COVID-19 pandemic, said Borissov. The European Commission
approved the "60/40" formula for support for business and
hundreds of Bulgarian companies have already applied, he said in
response to the President's criticism.
Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev and Gen.
Ventsislav Moutafchiiski, head of the national coronavirus task
force, visited Arexim Engineering based in Smolyan. The company
has started making goggles and face shields for the front-line
health workers and other specialists. Its output could reach
200,000 items per month. RY,NV/DD