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The total number of confirmed cases of new coronavirus in Bulgaria has risen to 92, national crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a regular briefing at 5pm on March 18.
This is 11 more than 24 hours earlier. Nine of the new confirmed cases are in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, one in Smolyan and one in Veliko Turnovo. The patient in Smolyan had recently returned from the UK.
Asked about Parliament, where journalists noted that most MPs in the House were not wearing masks and all were using shared microphones to deliver speeches, Mutafchiyski was cautious in his response, saying that this was a delicate question.
He said that he had met the Speaker of the National Assembly and the head of the parliamentary health committee to discuss anti-coronavirus measures in the buildings of Parliament. He outlined the agreed procedures, but also added that currently, Parliament was voting laws that were very important in the fight against Covid-19.
Mutafchiyski noted that the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health institute, had recommended switching off central air conditioning systems in residential and office buildings and using natural ventilation.
In Bulgaria’s Parliament, the air conditioning was switched off. There were disinfectants everywhere. Arriving MPs were tested with the same temperature measuring equipment as was used at the airport.
Asked about steps being taken to prevent infection spreading among Bulgaria’s Roma community, given that many Roma people do cleaning and other such jobs throughout Bulgaria, he said that 200 Roma mediators had been mobilised to educate communities about Covid-19, quarantine and other issues related to the fight against the illness.
He said that there had been no further confirmed cases in Bansko. On the evening of March 17, the resort town was placed under a two-week quarantine following confirmation of three new cases connected to it.
It was recommended that shopping be done with contactless cards because some reports had suggested that the virus could live for up to 12 hours on various surfaces, including banknotes.