Bulgaria capitals

Bulgaria detects first cases of Omicron coronavirus variant


A sign reading “Please keep the distance” is visible on the floor inside the Paradise shopping center after Bulgaria reopens the malls, easing some of the restrictions related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Sofia , Bulgaria, February 2, 2021. REUTERS / Stoyan Nenov

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SOFIA, Jan.2 (Reuters) – Bulgaria has detected its first 12 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Balkan country’s chief health inspector Angel Kunchev said on Sunday.

“We have confirmed the new variant in samples of 12 people,” Kunchev told reporters.

“From now on we can expect the infection to spread more rapidly. Omicron will gradually become the dominant variant as has already happened in many countries in the European Union,” he said. .

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Kunchev said the nine infected men and three women, mostly from the capital Sofia, had mild symptoms and none were hospitalized.

Bulgarian health authorities will meet on Tuesday to discuss the need for additional measures to curb the spread of the new variant, which has caused an increase in coronavirus infections across the world.

Kunchev said Bulgaria has already taken the most important step by offering a one-time cash bonus of 75 levs ($ 43.62) to retirees who choose to be vaccinated or receive a booster dose in the state. least vaccinated member of the European Union. Read more

Bulgaria has also shortened the period for a booster to three months after a full cycle of vaccination.

“None of those infected with Omicron have received a booster dose. We continue to believe that a full inoculation and a booster provide a high level of protection,” Kunchev said.

New cases of the coronavirus have started to increase in recent days. Bulgaria registered some 1,076 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of registered infections to over 748,000. The pandemic has killed some 30,983 people so far.

($ 1 = 1.7193 leva)

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Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by Mark Potter and Louise Heavens

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