Bulgarian Health Minister before EU Ambassadors: We Will Try to Avoid a Lockdown
Today at the Boyana residence, the Minister of Health Dr. Stoycho Katsarov met with the Ambassadors of the European Union to Bulgaria. The meeting was initiated by the Slovenian Presidency. At the meeting, the Minister of Health acquainted the ambassadors with the situation in the country and the main challenges facing the government and the Bulgarian people in the midst of another pandemic wave.
"Unlike the previous COVID waves, this time we conducted preliminary preparations. We have a plan, we have provided enough medicines in advance, we are gradually opening beds for patients with COVID, we are in constant contact with the oxygen producers. So far, we have enough drugs, and enough oxygen has been provided." This was stated by the Minister of Health Dr. Stoycho Katsarov during a meeting with the ambassadors of the EU member states in Bulgaria. "The increase in the number of infected people in recent weeks is hampering our health system, which is already close to its maximum capacity, especially in terms of intensive care beds," he added.
The Minister assured that the necessary actions have been taken to provide additional intensive care beds and their equipment. The provision of medical staff is a problem and this is the main indicator that health authorities monitor, as it is important to ensure the treatment of all patients. Minister Katsarov stressed to the ambassadors that if the introduced measures with a "green certificate" do not work, the only alternative remains the introduction of a lockdown. At the same time, as he recalled, presidential and parliamentary elections are coming up in two weeks. "We try to avoid it in every possible way, to apply the anti-epidemic measures as strictly as possible." I hope they will work and we will avoid the complete closure of the country so that we can hold the elections, albeit in a pandemic," said the Minister of Health.
Dr. Katsarov explained to the ambassadors the two main challenges facing the management of the pandemic in our country. One is that our health system is in poor condition and severely unbalanced. The caretaker government has neither the time nor the power to carry out the necessary reforms.
The second challenge is related to the fact that our country has been in the election campaign for 6 months now. In their battle for voters, political parties use the caretaker government as a punching bag. "Some of them are ready to ride every populist wave, every populist call in their quest to win more votes in the elections and are not interested in anything else at all, including people's lives and health," Minister Katsarov explained. According to him, the government has to endure all political blows and at the same time take measures to bring the country out of the health crisis.
Regarding the low levels of vaccination in our country, Dr. Stoycho Katsarov said that the reasons for this are complex. They are related to features of history, culture, totalitarian past, religion, which have shaped our people's psychology. In the last 10-15 years, our country has been ruled by populist governments, which have turned us into a model of a corrupt state. "This way of governing with widespread corruption, populism as the main political vision has its consequences. Demoralization occurs, people begin to lose ground for good and evil, distrust of power and even democracy is created. On this basis, mystical theories that people will chip in, that these vaccines will be used for something other than prevention, penetrate the population very easily," Dr. Katsarov commented. He was adamant that the parties that bet in their election campaign on the idea that 80% of the Bulgarian population are anti-vaxers will lose. This is not the case and mass vaccination after the introduction of the green certificate proves it. "Most of the protests are political and partisan, part of the election campaign," he said, assuring that the situation with the pandemic in the country is difficult, but still under control. Dr. Katsarov was adamant that a lockdown could still be avoided and the crisis overcome.
Minister Katsarov answered comprehensively all the questions asked by the ambassadors of the EU member states. He thanked them for their support and assured them that the country would try to deal with the crisis on its own, but would seek EU assistance under some of the support and solidarity mechanisms if necessary.
/Press Release Ministry of Health
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