The Bulgarian government has announced that lockdown restrictions will be introduced from Friday, November 27, in order to address the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The measures, which will be in place until December 21, will involve the closing of schools and universities, in addition to shopping malls, restaurants, bars, cafes, and night clubs. Private gatherings will be reduced to 15 people. Domestic and international tourism has also been suspended; however, public transport is not currently restricted. The current state of emergency will also be extended until March 2021.
The wearing of face masks is mandatory in all indoor spaces and outdoors where it is not possible to maintain a social distance.
Bulgaria has opened its borders to tourists from select countries. A full list can be found here. Nationals arriving from certain countries are also not subject to a 14-day quarantine.
As of Wednesday, November 25, there have been 129,348 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria with 3226 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
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.
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.