Schools in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna have been closed until January 31 because of the declaration of an influenza epidemic in the city, which also has been hard-hit by winter weather in the past 24 hours.
Schools in the city already had been closed on January 28 because of disruptions caused by heavy snowfalls and because authorities expected that a flu epidemic would be declared.
In the region of Varna, a flu epidemic declaration is to remain in force from January 28 to February 8.
In Dobrich, schools are closed from January 28 to 30 because of a flu epidemic, it was announced on January 27.
A flu epidemic also was declared in the town of Yambol on January 27, following similar declarations in the past two weeks in places including Bourgas, Sofia city and Sofia region, although in most cases most schools have remained opened.
Closure of schools because of a flu epidemic is decreed after the rate of absence because of illness exceeds 30 per cent of pupils.
In all cases, declaration of a flu epidemic means that scheduled operations at hospitals are postponed, and routine consultations for children and pregnant women suspended.
The north-east of the country, including the districts of Varna and Dobrich, were the ones to experience the worst disruptions on January 27 because of inclement weather, including traffic, power and drinking water service.
The bad weather over the weekend was also being blamed for the 10km queue at the Danube Bridge between Rousse in Bulgaria and Giurgiu in Romania. The bridge had been closed at the weekend at the request of Romanian authorities, who also closed the Giurgiu–Bucharest road because of snow, Bulgarian news agency Focus reported.
Although Bulgaria’s meteorology service said that temperatures in Bulgaria would remain below freezing point on January 28, no weather alerts have been issued. The forecast included snow in south-western Bulgaria in the early afternoon, spreading to cover the entire country by late evening, with the exception of eastern Bulgaria, where rain was more likely.
Visitors to Bulgaria’s winter resorts were advised to exercise caution because of avalanche danger. At least two tourists, said to be Greek nationals – some reports claimed it was three people – have been nearly caught in an avalanche in Bansko on January 27, but escaped without injury.
(Photo: Paul Barker/sxc.hu)