SOFIA, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Bulgaria reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday as a fourth wave of the disease is stretching the health system in the European Union’s least vaccinated member state.
Faced with surging infections and frustrated by the slow take-up of vaccines, the Balkan country of 7 million people has made health passes mandatory for most indoor public venues.
The new restrictions have prompted protests and some political parties have accused the interim government of failing to manage the pandemic ahead of parliamentary elections on Nov.
Health authorities have warned that failure to slow the new wave of the disease may trigger tougher restrictions as hospitals struggle to deal with more COVID-19 patients.
On Tuesday, more than 7,100 people were in COVID wards, including 608 of them in intensive care.
More than 90% of the patients were not vaccinated, data showed.
Vaccinations have picked up since last Thursday, when authorities limited access to restaurants, cinemas and gyms, among other venues, to those who are vaccinated, have recovered from the virus or have a negative COVID-19 test.
Still, Bulgaria, where vaccine scepticism runs high amid entrenched mistrust of state authorities and contradictory messages from politicians and experts, has managed to fully inoculate only 24% of its adult population compared with an EU average of 74%.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Robert Birsel)