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24 Jun 2020 | 12:11 PM UTC

Bulgaria: Government extends epidemic emergency until July 15 amid rise in COVID-19 cases /update 13

Bulgaria News Alert

Bulgarian government extends state of epidemic emergency until July 15 amid rise in COVID-19 cases; follow official directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/24/2020, 12:00 AM until 7/15/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Sofia). COUNTRY/REGION Bulgaria

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Event

Government health officials announced on Wednesday, June 24, that Bulgaria's state of epidemic emergency has been extended until July 15 following a recent surge in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The emergency measures, including social distancing measures and travel restrictions for countries outside the EU, are likely to remain in place during this time. However, the government has repeatedly ruled out the reintroduction of tighter lockdown restrictions in the country.

Bulgaria lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions on June 1, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for those arriving from most EU countries, and allowed restaurants, bars, cafes, and other non-essential businesses to reopen. However, the country has seen a significant increase in the rate of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, with the average daily number of confirmed cases more than tripling since June 10. On Monday, June 22, the Health Ministry reintroduced rules requiring people to wear face masks in all indoor public places, as well as on public transport, after 606 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed within a week. Social distancing measures, including a compulsory 1.5 meter (5 ft) interpersonal distance, are also to be more rigorously enforced, but no new measures have been introduced.

As of June 24, authorities have confirmed 4114 cases of COVID-19 and 208 associated deaths in Bulgaria. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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). 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.

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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