The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 new coronavirus in Bulgaria is now 105, with the first two in Plovdiv, the national crisis staff announced at a briefing on 5pm on March 19.
This figure is 11 higher than that announced at the regular briefing at 8am on March 19. Of the new cases, apart from those in Plovdiv, two are in Smolyan and seven in Sofia.
Of the new cases in Sofia, one was a man who returned from Bansko four days ago. There has been a second confirmed case at Sofiamed private hospital.
One of the 11 new cases was a child of eight, whose father was earlier confirmed as positive for coronavirus, crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told the briefing.
In another development on March 19, Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) announced a package of measures meant to increase liquidity in the Bulgarian banking sector by 9.3 billion leva (about 4.76 billion euro) in order to “increase flexibility to reduce negative effects from the restrictions due to the pandemic.”
Under Bulgaria’s currency board, the central bank cannot directly inject money in the banking system, so its package was restricted to ordering banks to capitalise all profits (1.6 billion leva), foregoing 700 million leva in payments that banks were due to make towards BNB’s anti-cyclical buffer fund in 2020 and 2021, as well as ordering Bulgarian banks to reduce their foreign exposure by seven billion leva.
BNB said that it was in constant contact with the European Banking Authority and stood ready to take additional steps if necessary.
As regards Bulgaria’s neighbouring countries, the Serbian government said in a notice on its website that it had on March 19 approved new decisions aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus, including the decision to suspend international passenger traffic from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport until further notice. Earlier, Turkey closed its borders to foreigners.
Greece’s Tourism Ministry ordered all hotels to close and remain shut from March 23 to the end of April. The Greek government was also expected to ban all incoming and outgoing commercial flights.
The British embassy in Sofia said in a Facebook post that four buses will transport UK nationals with booked flights to the UK from Bansko to Sofia on March 20.
Bulgarian media quoted Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova as telling a briefing on the afternoon of March 19 that there were 111 foreign tourists in Bansko. Forty-six UK citizens had left today and 29 would leave tomorrow, she was quoted as saying. There were 66 Russians, of whom 55 were on group excursions. Bansko currently is under a two-week quarantine because of Covid-19.
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