Coronavirus: Bulgaria begins large-scale checks against speculation in essentials

Massive checks are underway in Bulgaria against speculation in prices of essential goods, medicines and protective equipment, a briefing on March 16 was told.

Interior Ministry chief secretary Ivailo Ivanov said that the ministry was fully mobilised. The main objectives were to interact with the national crisis staff against Covid-19 to act against several crime risks, including people breaking quarantine and those who try to exploit the situation to commit fraud.

He called on the public and the media to be responsible when it comes to information on the internet. Ivanov gave the example of different drug prices, all of which were being investigated. Such malicious actions were diverting police who could be useful in other activities.

There were several other developments related to the coronavirus situation by the first part of the afternoon on March 16 (The Sofia Globe’s roundup of developments in the morning is here and there is coverage of the closure of the ski areas in Bansko and in Pamporovo and Borovets).

Sofia municipality suspended charging for parking in blue and green zones between March 17 and 29.

Earlier, a similar announcement was made by Varna mayor Ivan Portnih. The step is intended to avoid large numbers of people using public transport.

Plovdiv suspended payment for using the blue zone using tickets and limited means to payment to text messages.

In Rousse and Blagoevgrad, payment was still required for the blue zones, according to a report by Bulgarian National Television.

Bulgaria’s Association of Modern Trade, which counts nine major retailers among its members, said that after the “shock shopping” of March 13 and 14, since March 15 the situation had normalised and people were being served in calm conditions and without delays.

The association said that its members were working with normal capacity, albeit with adapted working hours to ensure maximum customer service.

Members of the association include Billa Bulgaria, Deichmann, dm Bulgaria, Doverie, Hippoland, Kaufland Bulgaria, Lidl Bulgaria, Maxima Bulgaria and Promarket.

Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television has further stepped up its measures against the spread of new coronavirus. The numerous new measures include a ban on studio audiences, a ban on its reporters entering hospitals for interviews and stories, and liaison and co-ordination with other major television stations. BNT already has begun a series of public information spots featuring presenters giving advice on personal hygiene steps to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Bulgaria’s Eurovision contestant Victoria has cancelled her European tour that had been planned for March and April. Eurovision 2020 is being held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Eurovision’s semi-finals are on May 12 and 14 and the final on May 16.

Varna city council has suspended meetings of its committees and working groups until March 29.

(Photo, of Interior Ministry chief secretary Ivailo Ivanov, Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev and national crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski:



The Sofia Globe staff

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