The Head of State: Misery is not a Rescue from the Virus
Focusing on coronavirus should not hinder the access of the chronically ill and urgent cases to health services, Rumen Radev emphasized
Statement made by the Head of State on the occasion of the government’s proposal for extension of the state of emergency in the country
We have been in a state of emergency for already 20 days. The government proposes the extension of the state of emergency to 13 May. The Assembly deputies are to make the decision.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic requires that decisive measures be taken. Most Bulgarians accept them with understanding. However, I think that the government owes society convincing information about the effect of the state of emergency during the first month of its implementation. Governance decisions should be made on the basis of reliable and comprehensive data.
Although the extraordinary restrictions slow down the morbidity rate, they unleashed an unprecedented social and economic crisis. Unemployment is rising by the hour, and the operations of thousands of enterprises ground to a halt. A lot of Bulgarians urgently need help. The businesses and the freelancers also expect convincing measures. Misery is not a rescue from the virus. I already said that soon famine may prevail over fear and there is the risk that the consequences may be more devastating than the coronavirus itself.
Therefore we should set a clear national goal – resuming a relatively normal rhythm of life, production, the free movement of people and goods as quickly as possible and in a manageable and safe manner. This goal can be achieved only if the institutions and each one of us pool efforts.
The coming months will be decisive not only for tackling the pandemic, but also for our future as a nation in a new world, where only those who manage to be united and innovative in such conditions will survive and make progress. Those who can adapt and develop social and economic activity under conditions of crises, such as the current one.
Our healthcare system in cooperation with the other socially important systems should adopt a more flexible strategy for fighting the coronavirus. It should considerably expand the range of testing, focusing on various social and risk groups so that it can obtain real information about the situation in the country and act purposefully. Focusing on coronavirus should not hinder the access of the chronically ill and urgent cases to health services, which poses a risk to the lives of thousands of Bulgarians. Our healthcare system shows weaknesses which are so far compensated by the self-sacrifice of our medical staff. The measures taken to protect the affected should be clear and efficient.
- Part of the measures stipulated in the State of Emergency Measures Act and subsequently adopted by virtue of a Council of Ministers resolution are seen by both the citizens and the business as insufficient, and some of them are even considered unsuitable. The people in need expect help, not a loan offer. The economic measures do not reach the most important businesses – the small and medium-sized enterprises, and the 60/40 formula is practically inapplicable.
- When the state imposes restrictions, it should also offer an adequate compensation –for both employees and businesses. In conditions of crisis, real help is the financial aid.
- Some of the provisions of the Act, adopted quickly and chaotically, which block business activity, should be urgently reconsidered.
The government is resorting to a new loan to the amount of up to 10 billion leva before using the budget reserves by reconsidering its priorities. This is a tough decision, which we will pay years on end. We expect guarantees for transparency and clear accounts of the financial aid offered to all affected. The money for economic recovery and helping the most needy should not be allocated without clear rules and only by the small number of Cabinet members, as this happens with the billions in the budget surplus.
The expected measures are related not only to providing financial aid but also to striking the optimal balance between restrictions and social and economic activity. The long isolation puts to the test people’s psyche and health and the heavy fines are unacceptable. Most of the Bulgarians displayed their good faith and observe social distance, therefore the power holders should reconsider social isolation in a reasonable time period. In the long term we should rely on people’s morale and responsibility, not on repressions and censure, which exerts pressure on the citizens even in the social networks.
A flexible approach should be adopted: reliable information, priority protection of the risk groups, education of the people, high morale, personal responsibility and concern about the other.
In such conditions it is essential that the Bulgarian Parliament should show responsibility and find a form to continue its activity to make important decisions and particularly its vocation by virtue of constitution to exert control over the executive branch of power.
The crisis highlighted its quiet heroes: the medical doctors, the medical specialists, the volunteers, the policemen and all workers in the areas of trade, transport, vital productions, the administration who, risking their health, maintain our state’s and economy’s basic functions. The teachers and pupils, who not only resumed the education process in a short period of time, but also set an example how in critical periods of time a whole social system can be reorganized and start functioning on a principally new basis.
Together with all problems and hardships, the crisis highlighted the necessity for the state to be the pillar of stability, it restored the feeling of solidarity.
The current crisis gives us the grounds to reconsider our priorities and values as a society. We should not be overwhelmed by despair – currently it is not time for lack of courage. Let us overcome the delusions of egoism and become community-conscious. The key to success now and in the future lies in pooling efforts.
Thank you for your attention!