Crisis staff: 218 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Bulgaria, including an entire family

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria is now 218, crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a briefing at 5pm on March 24.

The new cases include two in Stara Zagora, seven in Sofia, one in Pleven, four in Pazardzhik, one in Dobrich and one in Varna.

The total of 218 includes the three elderly people who died between March 11 and 19, and three people who had been discharged from hospital after recovering.

Mutafchiyski said that at the Military Medical Academy in Sofia, there was a case of a whole family that was ill – the mother, admitted with double pneumonia, the father, also ill, two children – one aged four and the other eight – as well as the mother’s sister.

This was one of a number of developments related to Covid-19 in Bulgaria on March 24.

Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency has announced changes to tax filing deadlines, prompted by the State of Emergency measures currently in place. The corporate tax and annual reports deadlines are pushed back to June 30 2020. That is also the deadline for individuals registered as sole traders, who will receive a five per cent discount on their tax payments if they file by May 31. For all other individuals, the income tax statement deadline remains unchanged, April 30, and the five per cent discount can be claimed if the filing is done by March 31.

The agency recommended that taxpayers avoid visiting its offices until after the State of Emergency is lifted, directing them to use online services instead, but noted that its offices were still open for business, with additional safety and disinfection measures implemented.

Yazaki Bulgaria, a producer of wire harnesses for the automotive industry, with main clients Renault, Ford and Daimler, said that it was suspending operations at its plants in Yambol, Sliven and Dimitrovgrad until April 5. It cited a number of reasons, including the spread of Covid-19, local and national health regulations, as well as the suspension of motor vehicle production by many of the company’s customers. Operating in Bulgaria since 2006, Yazaki Bulgaria has about 5500 employees.

Turkish Airlines is suspending flights to and from Bulgaria until April 17, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said. The last Turkish Airlines flight to Sofia will be on March 25 at 8.35am local time, the ministry said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that the Cabinet was allocating 500 million leva to cover increased expenses by the interior, health and defence ministries. The government would also “mobilise a resource of 4.5 billion leva” to help businesses affected by the crisis, including additional funding to the state Bulgarian Development Bank as loan guarantees and funding to commercial banks to underwrite interest-free consumer loans to individuals on unpaid leave. The measure to postpone payment of corporate and income taxes would diminish budget revenues by 600 million leva, which will give additional liquidity to businesses and individuals for the time being, Borissov said.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.



The Sofia Globe staff

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