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03 May 2020 | 08:53 PM UTC

Bulgaria: Authorities to ease COVID-19 restrictions from May 4 /update 6

Bulgaria News Alert

Bulgarian government to ease coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions from May 4; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/3/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/3/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Sofia). COUNTRY/REGION Bulgaria

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Bulgarian authorities announced on Sunday, May 3, that the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions imposed will be eased in the country as of Monday, May 4. Individual outdoor sports activity will be allowed and swimming pools will reopen with prevention measures in place from May 4. Additionally, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that it is likely that checkpoints in place to manage intercity travel are likely to be removed as of Wednesday, May 6. However, until these are removed, travel in and out of Sofia remains restricted except for cargo transport and people who have to travel to go to work or for hospital treatment.

The government extended the state of emergency through Wednesday, May 13. Bulgaria's borders remain closed to all non-EU citizens, as well as individuals from Italy, Spain, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. Citizens of the abovementioned countries will be allowed to transit through Bulgaria to return to their country of residence. Bulgarian nationals, family members of Bulgarian citizens, and individuals with permanent and long-term residence status in Bulgaria are exempt from the restrictions. The travel ban does not apply to nationals of EU member states and Schengen Area countries not mentioned above.

Schools and universities nationwide remain closed and visits to nonessential businesses such as gyms, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and shops are prohibited.

As of May 3, authorities have confirmed 1618 cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria, as well as 73 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

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

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


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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