LIVE: Health Minster of Bulgaria Presented Plan for Next COVID-19 Wave
The Minister of Health Stoycho Katsarov presented the plan in a new wave of COVID-19 at a briefing.
"Such a plan needed to be drawn up. In our opinion, this should have happened earlier, if not in March, then at least in June-July. If there was such a plan, the number of victims would be much smaller than the one we registered. Experts cannot rule out a subsequent wave of infection and illness, so we believe that the country must be prepared to meet the challenges and deal with this wave. Whether this will happen in late summer or later cannot be predicted. Most experts express the opinion that there will be such a wave if the vaccination process is not completed by the end of the summer, "explained Dr. Katsarov.
He pointed out that the plan is based on several principles. A description of the situation in the country from an epidemiological point of view, risk analysis and assessment of the health system and its resources. The mechanisms and ways to improve the chances are developed in detail - what needs to be done to reduce the damage from the pandemic in all areas (health, economic and social).
"We have made a general financial calculation of how much everything would cost if the worst-case scenario develops. And it is a wave like in the spring of this year. The whole plan is based on the possibilities for the degree of infection of the population. We have divided these opportunities into 4 groups - green, yellow, red and dark red, depending on the number of infected people on a 14-day basis, the percentage of samples and the number of beds occupied, "said the Minister of Health.
Depending on which zone an area or country enters, certain restrictions will be introduced. Based on these measures, plans have been developed for the work of the Emergency Care, the outpatient and inpatient care, as well as for the medication. In the event of a new wave, they will be sent to all ministries and institutions.
The zoning and limitation of the activities were presented by Deputy Minister Dr. Alexander Zlatanov. The zones are determined on the basis of 14-day morbidity. Those with less than 100 infected per 100,000 population are green, with between 100 and 200 people - orange, with 200 to 500 - red, with over 500 - dark red zone. Hospitalization will also have an impact on zoning.
Different restrictions will be introduced in the different zones. In the dark red it is allowed to impose a travel ban. The regional health inspectorates will have the opportunity to impose local lockdowns for a certain settlement, if the incidence is higher and meets the criteria for another zone.
"An essential part of the plan is border and health control. We believe that they must be carried out in such a way that they are effective, with the clear aim of reducing the risk of spreading the infection. I give an example and what we have done - in the last year at Sofia Airport a lot of prescriptions are written by hand. This makes it difficult to control and move passengers. In recent days we have managed to reorganize things 100%. There is already a green corridor for people with a certificate, everything is automated. "Technical means are being used to quarantine or refer people for a PCR test," he explained. He added that similar measures have been taken at all border crossings.
"We plan to close kindergartens in the last stage. They will be able to be visited by children whose parents have been immunized and provided that all staff have been vaccinated. This will enable people to plan their lives, to decide when to be immunized, "said Dr. Zlatanov.
It is envisaged that in the red zone the schools will work according to a schedule drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Science. Lectures and exercises will not be held in the universities. In the dark red zone, the attendance classes are suspended.
Bars, discos and casinos in the areas will also be closed in the red zone. In the dark red zone, only home delivery will be allowed.
"If we enter a red zone and an activity is stopped, we offer the following - if the staff is 100% vaccinated and entry is provided only for vaccinated persons, the activity will not be stopped. If there are visitors, only vaccinated people will enter. "
There are also clear rules for obtaining COVID compartments. It is also indicated which hospitals will accept the total number of beds for treatment in the hospitals by districts.
Regarding the spread of certain drugs in the presence of a new wave, work is being done in two directions. There are contracts for three types of antibodies waiting to be approved. They will be used for people in whom the vaccines are not expected to work or are contraindicated. New deliveries of Remdesifir were also worked on. A reserve of deficient medicines will be created.
According to the Minister of Health, the estimates show that a possible new wave in its worst form will cost the state over half a million levs. According to him, the only chance to avoid the wave is if people are vaccinated.
"We have developed a new methodology - to provide these BGN 1,000 in a real and fair way to people who deal with and treat COVID-19. We found out that there were people with a contract for a few hours to a medical institution and they received these 1000 BGN. Therefore, our approach has already changed. These BGN 1,000 will be received for a full schedule and for structures that are directly involved in the treatment and diagnosis of COVID. We believe that this will be an incentive for the workers ", said Deputy Minister Zlatanov. He stressed that this is not a violation, but a wrongly prepared methodology, which has already been changed.
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