Bulgarian Education Minister Meglena Kouneva has ordered all schools in the country to remain closed until January 9 because of flu epidemics in several parts of Bulgaria and weather forecasts for severe snowfalls and temperatures well below zero.
Schools in Bulgaria had been scheduled to resume on January 5 after the Christmas holiday. Following Kouneva’s January 4 order, they will now reopen on Monday.
Already, schools in many parts of Bulgaria had been closed because of flu epidemics or to prevent a spread of the illness.
Flu epidemics were declared on January 3 in Bulgaria’s Danube city of Rousse as well as in Stara Zagora and Montana.
Other places where schools already had been ordered to remain closed until January 9 as a counter-measure against flu spreading included Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas and a number of other cities and towns.
It was expected that on January 4, a decision would be made on declaring flu epidemics in the regions of Pazardzhik and Blagoevgrad, where the numbers of cases have increased drastically in recent days.
Bulgaria’s chief health inspector Dr Angel Kunchev has predicted that influenza will spread throughout the country by the end of January.
Apart from the flu crisis, weather forecasters are predicting that the weekend of January 7 and 8 will see temperatures plummet to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius. This will be preceded by heavy snowfalls, leading to the Interior Ministry issuing an appeal to people not to travel between January 5 and 7.
The Interior Ministry crisis staff held a special meeting on January 3 to discuss arrangements to cope with the expected heavy weather and was scheduled to hold a further such meeting on January 4, a ministry statement said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)