Bulgarian restaurant, tourism organizations hold national protest against “green certificate”

Bulgarian restaurant, tourism, fitness and retail centers held a protest, heralded as a national protest, in Sofia and several other cities and towns on October 28, calling for changes they believed to be made to the rules for the “green certificate” were introduced prematurely and are discriminatory.

The system of the “green certificate” was ordered by the responsible Minister of Health Stoicho Katsarov, which is due to come into force on October 21 and provides for the holders of such certificates access to indoor public spaces and the Covid-19 rapid tests for others.

The organizers of the protests said that instead of solving the medical crisis, the system deepened the economic one. Bulgarian restaurant associations previously stated that restaurant sales had declined by 80 percent on the first two days of entry into force.

They called for antibody test results to be used as the basis for such a certificate, for free tests to be made available to the state, for state and local administrations to be included in the “green certificate”, and that the system should only be used if the country is considered to be “ dark red ”or“ red ”zone classified for Covid-19 morbidity.

They said there should be an urgent solution for people who are not recommended to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

The organizers said there should have been a grace period before the system was implemented, but in practice there had been none.

In other Covid19 news in Bulgaria:

The Ministry of Health announced that there would be temporary restrictions on scheduled admissions and operations in hospitals in the capital Sofia within a few days.

The measure does not affect the activities related to the transplantation of organs, tissues and cells, the diagnosis and treatment of patients with oncological and oncohematological diseases, the activities of assisted reproduction and childbirth, rehabilitation, long-term treatment, psychiatric care and hemodialysis, Deputy Das said Health Minister Dimitar Petrov.

From October 28th, students from the 1st to the 12thNS The grades in Plovdiv went via distance learning.

They will stay on distance learning until the 14-day morbidity rate for Covid-19 drops in Plovdiv or until Katsarov lifts the temporary anti-epidemic measures, the Plovdiv municipality said.

Plovdiv is one of 23 districts in Bulgaria that is a “dark red” zone from Covid-19, which means a morbidity rate of 500 or more out of 100,000 inhabitants. The current regulation is that above a threshold of 750,000 per 100,000 inhabitants in a district, decisions must be made at local level about the conversion of schools to distance learning. On October 28, the morbidity rate in the Plovdiv district was 746.4 in 100,000 on a 14-day basis.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced that the Czech Republic has introduced new entry requirements for unvaccinated people entering from high-risk countries, a group that Bulgaria also belongs to.

Unvaccinated people arriving from Bulgaria should present a negative PCR test no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Entry with a rapid antigen test is not possible for them. They will also need to do a second PCR test between the fifth and seventh day after their arrival.

No restrictive measures may be taken for children under 12 years of age or for vaccinated persons with a vaccination certificate.

All travelers from Bulgaria should fill out an electronic passenger search form (PLF) in advance and present it at the border crossing upon request. You can find the form at https://plf.uzis.cz/

When traveling through the territory of the Czech Republic for up to 12 hours, there is no need to pre-register or to present a PCR test before or after entry.

The European Commission announced on October 28 that it had issued two new decisions certifying that the Covid-19 certificates issued by Armenia and the United Kingdom are equivalent to the EU digital Covid certificate.

This connects the two countries to the EU system and the Covid certificates they issue are accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU Digital Covid certificate.

At the same time, the two countries agreed to accept the EU Digital Covid Certificate for trips from the EU to their countries. The two decisions will come into force on October 29, the European Commission announced.

Caretaker Stoicho Katsarov’s health minister has complained to the Sofia City Prosecutor about a statement by GERB-UDF coalition leader Boiko Borissov that expired vaccines have been used.

In a letter to prosecutors, Katsarov said Borissov stated on October 24 that BioNTech Pfizer vaccines would be used after their September 30 expiration date. Katsarov said this was “fake news”.

“In Bulgaria, vaccines and medicines are only given during the expiration date. There is no doctor or pharmacist in the world who would give his patient an expired drug. The Covid-19 pandemic is not just a health problem. This is a national crisis that affects practically all areas of our public life, ”said Katsarov.

“Spreading the fake news, which is likely to have occurred in the context of Mr Borissov’s election campaign, is a socially dangerous act as the person is a former prime minister of Bulgaria and currently chairman of the GERB political party, influencing the decisions of many people,” he said.

The Ministry of Health announced that the European Medicines Agency has approved the extension of the shelf life of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine from six to nine months.

GERB responded with a statement that every day Katsarov stayed in the Ministry of Health’s office, the level of public danger increased due to the lack of appropriate decisions to control the epidemic waves.

“The only culprit for the lack of timely information about the extension of the expiration date of vaccines is Stoicho Katsarov. The same man is also guilty of the so far failed vaccination campaign because vaccines age in freezers while Bulgaria ranks last on EU vaccination, “said GERB, adding that Borissov and the party had primarily encouraged people to get vaccinated.

(Montage of photos from streaming the protest from different parts of Bulgaria)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s ongoing coverage of the Covid-19 situation, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s reporting on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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