Bulgaria reported record numbers of daily deaths and infections from coronavirus on Tuesday as a fourth wave of the disease weighs on the health system in the least vaccinated member state of the European Union.
New infections in the past 24 hours topped 5,863 while 243 people died from the virus, official data showed. The pandemic killed 23,316 people in Bulgaria. Faced with rising infections and frustrated with the slow absorption of vaccines, the Balkan country of 7 million has required health cards for most indoor public facilities.
The new restrictions have sparked protests and some political parties have accused the transitional government of failing to control the pandemic ahead of the November 14 general election, having difficulty dealing with more COVID-19 patients.
As of Tuesday, there were more than 7,100 people in COVID wards, 608 of them in intensive care. More than 90% of the patients were not vaccinated, the data showed. Vaccinations have increased since last Thursday when authorities restricted access to restaurants, cinemas and gyms, among other things, to those who are vaccinated, have recovered from the virus or have a negative COVID-19 test.
Yet Bulgaria, where vaccination skepticism is high given the deep-rooted distrust of government authorities and contradicting statements from politicians and experts, has only been able to fully vaccinate 24% of its adult population, compared to an EU average of 74%.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)