Bulgaria and coronavirus: Some borders closed

The border crossings between Serbia and Bulgaria at Oltomantsi, Strezimirovtsi and Bregovo have been closed until further notice as a step against the spread of Covid-19 new coronavirus.

Traffic to and from Serbia is being diverted to pass through the Kalotina and Vrashka border checkpoints, Bulgarian National Radio said on March 12.

At Bulgaria’s border with North Macedonia, travellers arriving from risky destinations will be processed only through the Gyueshevo checkpoint.

In other coronavirus-related developments in the past 24 hours:

Sofia municipality has ordered drivers of urban transport buses to stop selling tickets to passengers, as a move to protect drivers and not affect public transport operations through drivers falling ill.

Bulgaria’s Traffic Police are reported to have been instructed that when stopping motorists, they should speak to them only from a distance of a metre.

Controversy has erupted around the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, not only for its decision to go ahead with fully-fledged Orthodox Easter services in April, but also some of the statements surrounding the decision. Messages from the Sofia metropolitanate and some church leaders have included that if people get ill, that is a result of a lack of faith and that “holy sacraments cannot transmit any contagion or disease as they are a medicine for mental and physical healing and health”.

The American University in Bulgaria has announced the university’s leadership has decided to perform all academic activities online in the 14-day period following the end of Spring Break.

Bulgaria’s National Assembly has introduced restrictions against contacts between parliamentary journalists and MPs. In an ironic post on the Darik News website, a journalist expressed thanks to Parliament’s leadership for protection of the press corps from infection by MPs.

The Iliyantsi market in Sofia was raided by numerous institutions on the morning of March 12 following an alleged connection between it and one of the confirmed cases in the Bulgarian capital city. It subsequently emerged that it was a matter of another location named Iliyantsi, a cargo railway station. Still, the authorities announced a number of breaches of tax and labour laws they had found at the market, shut down several stalls, and also disinfected the place. Meanwhile, the company managing the markets at Zhenzki Pazar, Dimitar Petkov and Rotonda began daily disinfection of the markets on March 11.

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry suspended until further notice its “Be A Soldier” recruitment drive that has seen military personnel visiting numerous cities and towns across Bulgaria for several months, displaying military equipment and seeking to entice young people into enlisting in the country’s armed forces, which have a serious shortfall of personnel.



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292