Will Thousands of Bulgarians be Left Without a Post-Covid Certificate?
Will thousands of Bulgarians be left without a health certificate for COVID-19? The answer is increasingly relevant, given the revealed COVID areas, in which the detection of coronavirus infection is performed only by rapid antigen testing.
Only people who have been diagnosed with a PCR test receive a certificate of post-illness, although with a 6 month period. Such is the decision of the European Commission, adopted in Bulgaria as well. This condition discriminates against anyone who has had a coronavirus infection detected by a rapid antigen test.
At the same time, the Commission has no objection if one of the countries decides to allow travelers to enter its territory with a negative antigen test, and many countries have already done so.
For a negative certificate, PCR and rapid antigen testing are considered equally informative. With this certificate you can cross the border, participate in conference events, etc., which involve gathering more people indoors. In some countries, a negative test is a pass for medics and teachers, in others for a restaurant visit. The European Commission specifies a list of antigenic tests that are considered reliable enough to be recognized when a certificate is issued. The fact is that the antigen and PCR assays are equated at least in this access condition.
It is not so with the certificate of post-illness.
In August, a person with initials G.B. contracted COVID-19. His disease was diagnosed with a rapid antigen test (RAT), according to him - with a decision of his personal doctor. He claims that no one gave him a choice between PCR and RAT. In the second week of his quarantine, RHI-Sofia contacted him to inform him that he had to comply with the quarantine and that he was registered as ill. After recovering, the man tried to obtain a certificate of illness, but the National Health Information System rejected him.
What test can a GP prescribe to determine if a patient has coronavirus?
In front of OFFNews Dr. Georgi Mindov, chairman of the Association of General Practitioners in Sofia, explained that GPs issue a referral only for PCR test for certain symptoms:
"Antigen tests have never been available under the NHIF in our country. At the moment we only issue PCR, we have no limit, but the patient must have certain symptoms. We cannot issue PCR to test a contact person or a returnee from abroad," said the doctor.
The decision to issue referrals for a free PCR test by general practitioners took effect on November 1, 2020. According to him, in order to be able to benefit from a free test, a patient must have at least two of the following symptoms: fever, cough, fatigue. , loss of taste and / or smell, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, headache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, sore throat; oxygen saturation, less than 92% or less than 88% (if the patient has COPD) by pulse oximetry, if possible.
However, if you have symptoms of a coronavirus infection and go through the COVID zones, you will be tested with an antigen test and even if you get over the disease at home, God forbid you have to go to the hospital, you will not receive a certificate of illness because your disease was not detected by PCR. Given that the ambition of the Ministry of Health is that the majority of patients with mild symptoms should be diagnosed and treated through the COVID zones, the number of patients without a certificate will increase. And in order to be able to travel or visit a place where the certificate is required, you will have to pay for a test or get vaccinated.
After G.B. contacted the Ministry of Health and RHI-Sofia, this information was confirmed. However, he inquired on what legal basis he was refused the issuance of such a document, but received no reply. His further attempts to contact the two institutions also failed. He clarified that he had made enough attempts to contact the phones indicated for that purpose, without anyone picking up at all.
Assume that the legal basis is the decision of the EC on the conditions under which a health document can be issued for vaccination or illness and as a party to the pan-European strategy to deal with the pandemic, Bulgaria accepts this fact unconditionally. However, we can hardly explain why communication with the two state institutions is hindered.
It seems that for people like G.B., the only option so far remains vaccination a few months after the illness - as recommended by health professionals. In a similar situation are those who have had the virus asymptomatically and people who have had the disease and have antibodies but have not had a test.
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