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28 Oct 2020 | 12:43 AM UTC

Bulgaria: Authorities to tighten COVID-19 restrictions from October 29 /update 20

Authorities to tighten COVID-19 restrictions from on October 29; follow government directives

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health
transportation
BGR

Event

The Bulgarian government announced that discos and nightclubs will be required to close and high schools and universities must return to online teaching from Thursday, October 29, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Additionally, sports events will no longer welcome spectators, and theaters and cinemas will operate at a 30 percent capacity until at least November 12. A maximum of six people will be able to sit at the same table in restaurants.

Sofia's Mayor Yordanka Fandakova had previously announced that nightclubs and discos would close in the capital from Sunday, October 25, for an initial two weeks in an attempt to stem the spread COVID-19. Fandakova also urged Sofia universities to switch to virtual teaching and appealed to business owners to encourage employees to work from home.

Face masks were made mandatory in outdoor spaces from October 22. An Epidemic Emergency is also in effect in the country until November 30. The emergency was due to expire on September 30; however, an extension was deemed necessary in order to reduce COVID-19's impact on the public health system.

Although Bulgarian authorities have lifted restrictions on domestic travel, a number of restrictions remain in place. The wearing of face masks is also mandatory in all indoor public spaces, with the exception of dining and drinking areas. Indoor and outdoor gatherings remain limited to 30 people.

Bulgaria has opened its borders to tourists from select countries. A full list provided by the US Embassy in Bulgaria can be found here. Nationals arriving from certain countries are also not subject to a 14-day quarantine.

As of Wednesday, October 27, there have been 42,701 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria with 1161 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

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