The introduction of a compulsory Green Pass for all indoor activities has become the main topic of the Bulgarian election campaign. On November 14th, Bulgarians will vote in both parliamentary and presidential elections. The Green Pass comes into force on Thursday.
The two largest parties, the GERB party of ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the socialist party BSP, called for the resignation of the executive health minister, Stoycho Katsarov, who had ordered the mass use of the Green Passport. President Rumen Radev defended the minister he had appointed, saying he would not replace him.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning, supporters of the pro-Russian nationalist Vazrazhdane party attacked Education Minister Prof. Nikolai Denkov outside the Council of Ministers building.
The Minister of Health imposed the restrictive measures after almost a month of urging the Chief Health Inspector Assoc. Prof. Angel Kunchev. As expected, they caused controversy because the authorities in most large cities were forced to close schools due to increased morbidity. Many Bulgarians will have to work at home to look after their children who cannot go to school. For a significant part of society, closing schools will have the effect of partial closure.
Even proponents of mass vaccination have criticized the transitional government for the late introduction of the Green Passport. The health minister announced the measures two days before they came into force. The minimum duration for a full vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine is 21 days and for the Moderna vaccination it is 28 days.
Nevertheless, the introduction of the mandatory certificate from Thursday motivated some Bulgarians to jab. Queues in front of vaccination stations in large cities. The preferred vaccine was the Johnson & Johnson single dose. The certificate becomes valid 14 days after the vaccination is completed.
GERB and BSP say vaccination should be voluntary. However, the parties do not propose any alternatives.
The hospitals in the country are full and the fourth wave of the pandemic has peaked. For the past two days, more than 5,000 people have become infected each day, and the percentage of positive tests is over 20%. The alternative to the green certificate system is a lockdown, which the managing government tries to avoid.
In terms of the number of vaccinated citizens, Bulgaria ranks last in the EU with only 20%.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)