Head of National Operational Headquarters: Restaurants and Bars as Hotbeds of Infection

Society » HEALTH | January 28, 2021, Thursday // 14:30
Bulgaria: Head of National Operational Headquarters: Restaurants and Bars as Hotbeds of Infection

We fully agree with the health minister's order, declared Head of the National Operative Headquarters Gen. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski. He commented on the protest rally of the restaurateurs yesterday who demanded to open the restaurants in February, which at this stage is allowed to happen from March 1.

If we have an infection risk index from 1 to 9 - then 1,or the lowest risk, is to open a letter from the post office, and 9, the highest -  is to go to a bar. Index 9 also includes religious gatherings and concert halls without certain venues. Thus Gen. Mutafchiiski described the government's decisions on loosening some of the restrictive measures.

Further he listed the places where the risk of infection is the highest. "Next in danger (index 9) are restaurants, gyms, (as a restaurant with an outdoor garden is in a hazard index 3), Index 3 also includes golf courses and camping areas. Football and basketball matches fall in a hazard index between 6 and 7. There's hardly a footballer left who hasn't been infected. If they fall in the medium risk index, then the audience is exposed to Index 8 risk, nearly the highest. Stores fall in Index 4, and small stores in Index 3, and if there are fewer customers, the risk of infection is reduced sharply," the NOH head explained in detail.

In his words, when his staff discussed the loosening of the measures, they were guided by the most human arguments, such as prioritizing education and healthcare, planned surgeries, etc.

Gen. Mutafchiiski said the education minister was clear and adamant that young students could not study remotely. "It was a measured risk that had to be taken, and everyone else had to sacrifice something else so that our children could go to school," he said.

Currently, the measures are working at below 40% coverage rate. "We have never claimed to be exhaustive, to ensure that all places posing danger are closed for visiting. But we spotted the most dangerous places where the infection spreads faster - kindergartens, nurseries, large malls, restaurants and bars," Mutafchiiski said further.

He explained that the government believes a compromise cannot be made with education and healthcare, so school students and planned surgeries have been exempt. "Hospitals are now full of patients who are not infected with Covid," he added. 

In conclusion Ventsislav Mutafchiiski quoted an example of an "efficient, albeit primitive attempt at infection prevention in Greece" – on entry to a certain place, each visitor receives a ticket, and on leaving puts it in a basket, when the place is full, visitors are no longer allowed inside.

"The morbidity rate has been falling much slower than we expected. But there's still a great result at the moment," he added.


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