Bulgarian Health Minister Insists Disbanding COVID-19 Task Force “Makes Sense”

Politics | April 16, 2021, Friday // 19:58
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Health Minister Insists Disbanding COVID-19 Task Force “Makes Sense”

Bulgarian Minister of Health Prof. Kostadin Angelov announced that decision to disband the Task Force is "logical".

The Task Force begun managing the situation with COVID-19 in Bulgaria at the end of February last year. Angelov expressed his opinion at a press briefing after the Council of Ministers issued a statement about the end of the Task Force.

In his assessment regarding the logic of the disbanded Task Force with Chairman Gen. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski (he was not present today) Angelov argued:

"The Task Force is an inter-institutional structure that coordinates different government bodies."

According to him, given that the government resigned, the next cabinet could appoint such an "advisory body".

Vague motives

Angelov also read the grounds for the establishment of the former National Operational Task Force, recalling that almost nothing was known about the coronavirus at the beginning of last year:

 "Organizing and coordinating the actions of the competent state authorities in connection with the emergency announced by the World Health Organization for public health of international importance in relation to COVID-19 ".

 The minister was asked by journalists, if it is assumed that the Task Force is disbanded now because the prime minister Borisov, who appointed the advisory body has resigned, then why the other task force for vaccination continues to operate.

Angelov did not give a clear answer:

"Vaccination Task Force includes only and mainly experts dealing with the vaccination process, so this is an operational body, formed with a decision of the Council of Ministers, while the other Task Force is a consultative body to the Prime Minister.”

 The explanation is confusing for two reasons, both the Prime Minister and the ministers have resigned. Therefore, if there is to be a disbandment for this reason, it must be for all working task forces related to the government.

In addition, although the COVID-19 Task Force advised the government on the COVID strategy, it was still called an "operational task force" and was expected to carry out operational work in this regard.

Reactions in Parliament

The case with the disbanded Coronavirus Task Force reached the National Assembly.

Maya Manolova, Chairwoman of "Stand up! Mutri, out!", commented that she would ask for the establishment of another body in which proven experts and people with a solid positions will defend their decisions and would not bend under the Prime Minister's orders.

 According to Stanislav Balabanov from "There is such a people", the actions of the Task Force were illogical.

According to him, the working group should be composed of professionals, not people who carry out political orders.

Dzhevdet Chakarov read a statement from the MRF parliamentary group, according to which the closure of the Coronavirus Task Force is unacceptable.

"We are losing the controlling body, no arguments have been presented. There should be an operational body as soon as possible to coordinate actions and continue the fight against the disease," Chakarov said.

"Democratic Bulgaria" also issued a statement saying that the disband of the Coronavirus Task Force "along with the low effectiveness of the vaccination campaign seems to be an active measure to destabilize pandemic control, depriving it of effective management and coordination."

According to "Democratic Bulgaria", a new task force should be formed, and it should receive a report and documents from the previous one which is no longer existing.

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