The Bulgarian mountain resort of Bansko has been placed under strict quarantine, the chief of the country’s national crisis staff against Covid-19, Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, announced at a 7pm briefing on March 17.
In the past 24 hours, three of the newly-confirmed cases of new coronavirus, which now add up to 81, in Bulgaria, have been linked to Bansko. Earlier, it was announced that a nine-year-old British child who had been on a skiing holiday in the resort had tested positive.
Like other mountain ski resorts in Bulgaria, Bansko’s ski slopes already have been shut down.
One of those who tested positive in the Blagoevgrad district is a man who had been working as a bouncer at a disco in Bansko. He is in hospital in Razlog and is in a stable condition.
Earlier on March 17, at a meeting of a committee of Bulgaria’s National Assembly, Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev had called for a complete quarantine of Bansko.
Bulgarian National Television reported, at the time of the announcement of the quarantine, that there was a sharp increase in traffic leaving Bansko.
Mutafchiyski said that with immediate effect, entry and exit from Bansko was being prohibited. A curfew effective from 8pm is announced.
No one is allowed to go out on the streets of Bansko, unless they are going to a medical facility, insurance office, bank, pharmacy or grocery store.
Only suppliers of electrical goods, plumbers, medical personnel, firefighters and other essential personnel will be admitted to Bansko.
Interior Minister Mladen Marinov called on the media not to go to Bansko, on pain of severe fines.
Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that there were currently about 200 foreign tourists in Bansko.
Interior Ministry chief secretary Ivailo Ivanov said that checkpoints at entrances to and exits from the town would be staffed by personnel from other parts of Bulgaria. In the event of emergency, medical personnel would be sent to Bansko from other parts of the country.
For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.
Useful links for factual information:
The European Commission’s page on coronavirus response.
The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe’s page on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s page with updates and factfiles on new coronavirus.
(Photo: Lance Nelson of banskoblog.com)