Covid-19: Number of registered unemployed rising – Bulgaria’s Labour Minister

The number of people in Bulgaria registered as unemployed is increasing, with 1300 having registered on Friday alone, the country’s Labour and Social Policy Minister said in a television interview on March 23, commenting on the Covid-19 situation.

“However, some businesses are transforming and there is a demand for people. We are ready to support unemployment benefits through the Operational Programme for Human Resources Development,” Labour Minister Denitsa Sacheva said.

The state will cover 60 per cent of salaries of employees facing lay-offs, with employers paying the remaining 40 per cent. The criteria for the companies to receive such state aid would be drafted by the Cabinet, according to the State of Emergency Measures Bill approved by Bulgaria’s National Assembly on March 20.

Sacheva said that an employer that did not the pay the balance of 40 per cent or closed the post after this period would have to return the money to the state.

European Union statistics agency Eurostat is scheduled to report Bulgaria’s March 2020 unemployment figures on April 30, according to a release calendar on the statistics agency’s website.

On its website, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy announced that until the scheduled end of Bulgaria’s State of Emergency on April 13, psychological support for older people and people for disabilities would be available free of charge via the telephone number 0800 88001. The service is being provided by volunteers, including psychologists and students in psychology, from Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, on duty daily from 9am to 5pm.

The State Agency for Child Protection is providing assistance via the telephone number 116 111 to parents from psychologists in support of families and children.

Psychologists and speech therapists at community support centres, child care centres and social rehabilitation and integration centres are also ready to provide consultations to users of these services and their families via phone, Skype or Viber, the ministry said.

Separately, at an 8am briefing on March 23, national crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski said that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Bulgaria was now 190.

This total includes the three patients who died between March 11 and 19, and the three who were discharged from hospital after recovering.

Of the newly-confirmed cases, most were in Sofia and one in Pleven.

“Most cases are in an improving or in a stable state. Yesterday, I reported that there are two cases of respiratory failure at the Military Medical Academy, but as of this morning they are already well, are not dependent on oxygen, and are improving,” Mutafchiyski said.

Two patients at Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia were in serious condition, he said.

Mutafchiyski said that the value of donations from private individuals and organisations – such as donations of protective equipment – now added up to about 800 000 leva (about 409 000 euro).

(Photo: Michael Maechtlinger/



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's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.