The British embassy in Sofia said on the morning of March 18 that it had been working overnight with the Interior Ministry on the issue of UK nationals in Bansko – now subject to a two-week quarantine – as the ministry had said it was responsible for those trying to leave.
“We have passed all the information that we have about the details of UK nationals trying to leave Bansko and are urgently following up with the Ministry,” the embassy said.
“We are aware that some people are booked on lunchtime flights out of Bulgaria and understand the need to transfer them to the airport this morning.”
Bulgarian National Television reported on Wednesday, the first day of the quarantine declared at 7pm on March 17, that Bansko mayor Ivan Kadev had asked the tour operators, owners and managers of hotel complexes to create the necessary organisation for the transportation of tourists.
Kadev said that there was no panic among residents of the resort town after the quarantine was announced.
Police teams wearing protective suits are guarding the entrances of the town.
The quarantine was announced after three cases of Covid-19 in people who had been working in Bansko were confirmed in just a few hours.
An hotel in the Luvov Most (“Lion Bridge”) area of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia was put under quarantine after a group of British tourists who had been staying in Bansko was transported there.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov announced this on Tuesday evening. He said that for the tour operator who had taken the group to the hotel “it was not enough to infect Bansko, but now Sofia too”.
Bulgarian media said that the group numbered about 80 people. Police had been deployed to guard the hotel.
Speaking on March 18, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova described the situation in the Bulgarian capital city as “dynamic”.
A briefing by the national crisis staff on Tuesday evening was told that largest number of the confirmed cases of Covid-19 were in Sofia.
“It is extremely important that we all be responsible and comply with the orders of the national operational headquarters,” Fandukova said in an interview with Bulgarian National Television.
Particularly important was discipline, especially among those who had been in contact with people confirmed to have coronavirus and among those in quarantine.
Fandukova said that the number of passengers using Sofia’s metro underground railway system had been down by about a third yesterday. There was currently no need to stop the metro, she said.
Coronavirus infection control measures are currently tight enough, but may be tightened further if necessary, she said.
For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.
(Photo: Lance Nelson of banskoblog.com)