Bulgarian Prof. Argirova: There are Isolated Cases of Omicron in our Country
Most likely there is Omicron in Bulgaria. There are only a few cases, all of them come from abroad. This was said on bTV by Prof. Radka Argirova, virologist and adviser to the Prime Minister Kiril Petkov on the pandemic.
She stressed that the suspicious samples were diagnosed by PCR tests, but additional confirmation by sequencing from the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) is required, which takes time. Prof. Argirova assured that all laboratories have precise instructions and know in which cases the samples should be sent to NCIPD.
We are currently at the end of the fourth wave, but the fifth wave will most likely overlap. We expect the data for Omicron to be available in Bulgaria at any moment, the surrounding countries have confirmed that there are cases of the new version, there is no way we can stay away, said the virologist.
According to her, the measures are currently adequate, but the control over the observance of quarantine should be strengthened, to monitor how much time passes from entering the country to the results of the first test and where these people spend their time. Decisions on additional restrictions will be made according to morbidity data, with a focus on prevalence in different areas.
Commenting on the financial incentives for retirees who are taking a third dose, Prof. Argirova said she thought the measure would work. She said similar incentives are being considered for adults over 60 who have already been immunized. The decision will probably be a fact in the first week of January.
For the invitation of the Prime Minister and the legacy of the official team of the Ministry of Health
We have known Kiril Petkov since the end of last year when we worked on the Recovery and Development Plan. I accepted the invitation without much thought. I decided that my expertise would be useful. Kiril Petkov is extremely direct and asks his questions exactly, said the virologist.
According to her, Stoycho Katsarov's team has done good things - the National Plan for dealing with the pandemic, the covid zones that must continue to work. According to her, the omissions are in the direction of the information campaign for vaccination against coronavirus:
We need to be specific to people, to their worries, because most are afraid of side effects. There was no campaign at the beginning, there was conflicting information about the vaccines from the manufacturers themselves and even from the WHO, she said.
Regarding the high mortality from the infection in our country, Prof. Argirova pointed out that it has been scientifically proven that the third dose protects against severe disease and death. According to her, the existing protocols for treating the infection are working, and the country already has antiviral drugs that are working well. All this, she said, would help reduce deaths.
Radka Argirova predicted a flu wave at the end of January and suggested that the peaks of the two viruses may coincide, but stressed that the two infections have different symptoms. The flu starts suddenly, acutely, up to two days after infection, and it takes several days for covid to show symptoms, she reminded.
The prime minister's adviser assured that the healthcare system will withstand a new wave of coronavirus and predicts that 2022 will be the last pandemic year.
COVID-19 will last a long time, but it will not be a threat to humans. In the west, the end of the pandemic will probably occur in April-May. It will be later in our country due to low vaccination coverage. I think that if it increases, 2022 will be the last for the pandemic, said Prof. Radka Argirova.
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