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National Day Message by H. E. Mrs. Ursula Hoefter Zuccoli, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Republic of Bulgaria

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

24th of June is the day of Saint John the Baptist, Patron of the Order of Malta. But this year, I wish to raise, first of all my thoughts to the sad demise of H.M.E.H, the 80th Prince and Grand Master Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto on 29 April last, following an incurable disease.

During his State Visit in Bulgaria last December, he contributed to strengthen the relations and friendship between Republic of Bulgaria and the Sovereign Order of Malta.

And then an unexpected blow came, the Covid-19 pandemic which changed our routine and social life. All over the world the Sovereign Order of Malta has continued its mission in favor of the sick and poor, adopting our work to the new rules and changing realities.

As Embassy of the Order of Malta in Bulgaria we are trying to do our best with the generous help and support of our very engaged volunteers and sponsors.

Since April we could distribute 500 hundreds of food packages, including 19 types of goods supporting every week more than 45 poor families in Sofia and Yambol.

Meanwhile, the situation in Bulgaria was changing and many health workers were infected by Covid-19, entire hospitals were completely closed for weeks, with all the medical personal on quarantine. Especially problems faced the hospitals in Vidin and North Bulgaria. The total number of infected health workers is 329 by 18th of June, on 3 500 cases of registered Covid-19, it is a very high percent, near 30%. For this reason, on the day, when Bulgaria registered the largest number of people infected with Covid-19, 10th of June, the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta donated seven UV-C devices to hospitals at seven different locations in Bulgaria.

Guided by the long-standing Hospitaller tradition of the Order of Malta and the concern for frontline medics, we joined the "Bulgaria for Doctors" campaign.

I am confident that together we will succeed to overcome this global emergency and I address to all the readers of Diplomatic spectrum my warmest regards.

The photo was provided by the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in the Republic of Bulgaria.