Bulgaria: Here are All of the New COVID-19 Restrictions in Sofia from October 14
The Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate has issued an order to tighten anti-epidemic measures in Sofia due to the increased incidence of COVID-19.
The group attendance extracurricular activities and activities, as well as the classes in language and educational centers, classes and places for personal development are suspended. School managements will need to take steps to rotate training if an increase in morbidity is observed.
Seminars, exhibitions and conferences are also prohibited. Visits to centers, schools and other sites for dance and music are suspended.
Cultural and entertainment events (theaters, cinemas, stage events, concerts) can be held when the seats are occupied by up to 30% of their total indoor capacity, when the spectators are accommodated in at least one seat and at a distance of 1.5 m and mandatory wearing of masks. No more than 1 person per 8 square meters will be allowed in museums and galleries, masks will also be mandatory.
All sports events with training and competitive nature for all age groups indoors and outdoors will be held without an audience.
Minors will be able to visit shopping malls, including malls, only with an escort.
All employers should organize the work process of employees remotely, where possible. If not, enhanced anti-epidemic measures should be carried out at the relevant workplace, including filtering, disinfection and ventilation, personal hygiene instruction and the prevention of employees or outsiders with symptoms of acute infectious diseases.
Regarding the establishments, the order states that they will be able to work after 11 pm under the following conditions:
- 100% of the staff in the respective site / employee of the event has been vaccinated or has suffered from COVID-19 or has a negative result from a test conducted before entering the site / event, certified with valid documents for vaccination, disease or test within the context of Order № RD -01-733 dated 27.08.2021 of the Minister of Health;
- the site manager / event organizer has made a decision and created the necessary organization for admission to the site, respectively of the event only to persons who have been vaccinated or have suffered from COVID-19, certified with valid documents or present a negative result of up to 72 hours before entering the site / event PCR or antigen test (up to 48 hours before entry).
According to the new order, group tourist trips with organized transport and group visits to tourist sites are also prohibited.
Teambuilding and other organized group events of this nature in work teams are suspended.
Conducting competitions and exams is allowed when using no more than 30% of the capacity of the room and no more than 30 participants, observing a distance of at least 1.5 m and wearing masks.
It is forbidden to hold organized mass public events in the open air (celebrations, fairs, festivals, etc.).
Visits to food and entertainment establishments, gambling halls and casinos are allowed only in the time interval from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm, observing a distance of 1.5 m between the backs of the chairs at the adjacent tables, allowing no more than 6 people at one table and wearing protective masks by the staff.
Private gatherings (baptisms, weddings, etc.) are allowed with the participation of no more than 15 people indoors and 25 - outdoors.
Visits to fitness centers are allowed when using no more than 30% of the capacity of each room and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 m and wearing a mask by staff.
Visits to gyms and clubs, swimming pools and complexes are allowed only for individual sports using no more than 30% of their capacity and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 m. Indoor team sports are suspended, with except for trainings and competitions for registered professional athletes.
Visits to balneotherapy (medical SPA) centers, SPA centers, wellness centers and thalassotherapy centers are allowed when using 30% of their capacity, maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 m, wearing face masks for services that allow their use and creation, if possible, of a schedule for individual use of the services.
In all markets, shopping centers and bazaars, an organization needs to be created for one-way traffic and providing a distance of at least 1.5 m between visitors. Workers and visitors are required to wear a face mask.
All natural and legal persons who own or manage commercial, administrative or other sites that provide services to citizens and whose activities are not suspended by this order, you need to create an organization to control the number of customers in the site, not allowing more than 1 person per 3 square meter.
Wearing face masks in indoor public places is mandatory. Exceptions are allowed for customers in restaurants and drinking establishments, outdoor and indoor sports; participants in congress-conference events and the like during their speeches, presenters and guests in TV shows, when they are at a distance of 1.5 m, as well as when they are isolated from each other by a plexiglass barrier.
Visits to medical establishments are suspended.
Visitors to outsiders are not allowed in the specialized institutions for the provision of social services and those for residential-type social services for children and adults.
The temporary anti-epidemic measures, determined by this order, will be changed depending on the development of the epidemic situation on the territory of Sofia-city.
In one of the medical establishments with the most planned places for patients with coronavirus - the Sofia Infectious Diseases Hospital, only 11 beds out of over 100 available remained vacant.
"The situation is tense. We are coping hard, but we are coping. There are 95 beds that are occupied by patients with COVID. 15 of the infected are children", said Prof. Tatiana Chervenyakova.
The situation is similar in another large hospital - "Pirogov". There are only 6 vacancies in the intensive care unit, so they will open 5 more as a matter of urgency.
In the First City Hospital - there are no more beds for severe cases. "We have eight intensive care beds that are currently full. There are only a few free beds left for medium-severe cases", said Prof. Tsvetomir Dimitrov.
During the fourth wave, patients come in a more serious condition, medics say. According to them, this is the reason why the intensive beds end first. "There are young and old. Mortality is now higher. In principle, we try not to return patients, especially those who come by ambulance and need urgent treatment,"said Dimitrov.
The latest RHI data in Sofia show that currently over 90% of the intensive care beds in the district are occupied.
The picture in the country is colorful, health officials say. "In a given hospital or in a given area, intensive care units can be exhausted, but there are other medical establishments where we have enough," commented Dr. Alexander Zlatanov.
The World Health Organization is also concerned about the situation in Bulgaria. "Over the next few days and weeks, we will see a difficult and very difficult situation in the health system - with congestion and lack of admission to the hospital," said Dr. Skender Sila.
The new jump in the infected and hospitalized did not surprise virologists. "Currently we are climbing the morbidity steeply upwards, the peak is coming. The large number of patients transmit the virus to a large number of other people and it becomes an avalanche of increasing fading, which no one can predict where it will end,"said Prof. Iva Hristova.
According to experts, it is possible that the fourth COVID wave will set records that we have not had so far - both in the number of new infections on a daily basis and in deaths.
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