Borders remain closed to citizens of non-EU countries until 1 July

The emergency epidemic situation in the country will be extended by 15 days until the end of June, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov announced on Wednesday. None of the measures will be changed or tightened. Mandatory wearing of face masks in public transport vehicles remains in place. Wearing of masks in enclosed spaces is advisable.

Minister of Health Kiril Ananiev commented that all of the orders he has issued regarding the precautionary measures introduced by the authorities remain in force. The temporary restrictions on entry into Bulgaria of citizens from third countries, with the exception of the citizens of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, also remain in place.

COVID-19: Bulgaria's coronavirus cases reach 2889

“Regarding all other third countries outside the EU we are expecting a pan-European decision on 15 June. If borders are opened to third countries, it wouldn’t be before 1 July,” Minister Ananiev said. 

“The rise in the number of the coronavirus cases in the country is due to the clusters,” Boyko Borissov explained. “We get them under control as fast as is possible without shutting down towns or productions, without spreading panic or fear, and I think that we should continue in the same way,” the prime minister added.

“Nothing new is going on, we are even continuing to loosen the measures, as of 15 June theatres and cinemas will open. They will function at 50% of their seating capacity,” Borissov said. “Discipline, distancing and disinfection are the most important restrictions we must observe at the moment. There is nothing different – the pandemic is growing, the number of infections is going up, the positive thing is that the number of recoveries is also going up. At the same time we have a way of life, an economy, business, culture that is almost normal. It is up to us to observe the measures, so as to be able to continue living as we did before the crisis.”

“Our main criterion is for hospitals to be able to receive and process the people infected,” Boyko Borissov added, “That is why we are proposing a draft of a decision to extend, by 15 days, the duration of the emergency epidemic situation.”

Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev calls for extension of the epidemic situation

“Under the circumstances, extending the measures is necessary because, by law, if the emergency epidemic situation is lifted we would have no grounds to impose border measures,” commented Chief Health Inspector Assoc. Prof. Dr. Angel Kunchev.

“It would be wrong to say tests are not being done in the country,” said on his part Prof. Dr. Todor Kantardzhiev, director of the National Centre of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. “It is not true that the more tests performed the higher the number that comes back positive. It depends on the place where the tests are taken. When they are taken from a cluster, that is a small epidemiological outbreak, people have been in very close contact, they have not observed the measures, then there are usually many tests which return positive,” Prof. Kantardzhiev explained. He once again urged mask wearing in shops and public transport vehicles, and advised people, when they go to food and drink establishments, to sit outside.

Assoc. Prof. Angel Kunchev: Curbing the COVID-19 outbreaks could be done without extreme measures