Stepping out for a cigarette costs man in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv 5000 leva

Smoking a cigarette on the banks of the Maritsa River has cost a man a fine of 5000 leva (about 2556 euro) for breaking the ban on visiting public open spaces, according to a report on April 6.

Lyubomir Yanov told Nova Televizia that he had gone outside to smoke because his apartment had no balcony, but had moved some distance so that he was not close to anyone else.

Coffee and cigarette in hand, moments later he was fined by police for breaking the ban on visiting outdoor public parks and gardens.

“To comply with one law, I have clearly violated another. Coming out of the entrance, I saw that there were medical personnel and patients, and I decided to keep my distance,” Yanov said.

He said that he would appeal in court against the fine in the hope of having it scrapped or at least reduced.

While Bulgaria’s authorities have said people generally have complied with the ban, that took effect on March 21, on visiting parks, public gardens and other indoor and outdoor public places, as a step against the spread of Covid-19, hundreds have been fined in various cities for breaking the ban.

On the morning of April 6, national crisis staff chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski said that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria was 541.

The death toll is 21, after a 72-year-old man from Peshtera died overnight.

Thirty-nine people have been discharged from hospital after recovering.

Thirty medical personnel have tested positive for Covid-19. This includes 17 doctors, eight nurses and five other medical staff. Seven people working at emergency medical centres have tested positive.

A total of 210 patients are hospital, 22 in intensive care.

(Photo, of a taped-over bench on the banks of the Maritsa River in Plovdiv:

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