Sofia

The Coronavirus (covid-19) in Bulgaria: updates

01 Feb 2021
 
Like most of Europe Bulgaria experienced a dramatic second wave of Covid-19 infections in the autumn months leading up to Christmas, with much higher casualties than during the first phase. The latest lockdown was in place from since 27th November 2020 extended until  31st January 2021 and with a considerable drop in case numbers as well as a start of immunisation, certain measures have been relaxed as of 1st February 2021.

Shopping Malls, fitness centres and cinemas have re-opened to the public although restrictions and other measures apply, such as shorter working hours and capacity restrictions.
Dance classes can also take place again.
Restaurants will continue to only work for take out / delivery to home and office until the beginning of March.

From 2nd February until 30th April 2021 Bulgarian citizens and persons with the status of permanent, long-term or extended residence on the territory of Bulgaria and their family members who do not present a document for a negative PCR result from 72 hours priot to entry are required to quarantine for a period of 10 days. The quarantine can be revoked in the case of a negative result from a PCR-test performed 24 hours after arrival in Bulgaria.


We recommend the excellent news site Sofia Globe for  more in depth and up to date information in English.

  
Slaveikov father and son with masks
Reminder to Sofianites to not panic! Copyright:@https://www.facebook.com/etiuditenasofia/

Older measures  still valid
As of 3rd May Bulgarians are once again allowed to enjoy their beautiful nature with hikes in the mountains and in general no need to wear protective masks in outdoor spaces. 
As of 15th June the wearing of some form of face mask covering nose and mouth is compulsory on all public transport, in pharmacies and medical establishments. The wearing of masks in all indoor spaces has been reintroduced.
It is highly recommended to continue wearing masks in public spaces where social distancing cannot be easily observed.
- Travel restrictions between the major cities within Bulgaria were lifted on 7th May 2020


- Museums and art galleries are also re-opening, again with some limitations.

What is the general level of concern among Bulgarians?
Bulgaria  got away fairly lightly during the first wave, a lot of the credit must go to swift initial crisis management. Unfortunately as a nation Bulgarians are not very disciplined, and probably because of low population density and fast initial response the total death toll was low. 
The second wave which started at the beginning of October was far more brutal and the death toll went up 10x from Oct thru January 2021, putting Bulgaria globally in 12th place for deaths per million population.
Figures have been steadily dropping since mid December but the need for Bulgarians to exercise personal discipline and responsible behaviour remains.

Is it safe to travel to Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is as safe as any other EU country if people follow the rules and guidelines. Ski resorts are currently open but working with restrictions, such as room service only for dining.

What travel restrictions in place?
Flights continue to and from Sofia Airport  since 1st June. Only passengers are allowed into the Terminal Buildings after a temperature check. 

For up to date statistics - check the website coronavirus.bg


Information changes by the hour - we are trying to update the information as often as possible, but ask for your understanding.

Sources for further information
World Health Organisation
Bulgarian Ministry of Health (in Bulgarian)
sofiaglobe.com
travelhealthpro.org.uk
Latest statistics: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/  

Remember to be informed, behave sensibly, follow government guidelines and practice good hygiene. Above all stay healthy
Distance, discipline and disinfection!

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