Covid-19 in Bulgaria: ‘Training exercise’ regarding partially opening parks in Sofia on April 26

There will be an “experiment” regarding opening public parks in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia on Sunday, operational headquarters chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski told a briefing on April 25 on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria.

This past week, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova spoke of possibly partially opening public parks to mothers with small children, with a “field test” of the system on Sunday.

“On Sunday an exercise, or experiment, will be carried out, in which there will be an organisation regarding visiting parks. It will be monitored whether it is kept to. I sincerely hope that people will maintain physical distancing and it will be possible to have walks in the parks,” Mutafchiyski said.

However, after the briefing, a statement by Sofia municipality said that the ban on visiting public parks remains in effect and enhanced enforcement, including at weekends, would continue.

It said that the exercise on Sunday would involve only Sofia municipal staff and volunteers from the municipality in what would be a training exercise.

Bulgaria’s ban on visiting public parks and gardens, sports grounds and playgrounds, came into effect on March 21. Across Bulgaria, hundreds of people have been fined for breaking the ban, while the majority have complied with the restriction.

Following the “experiment” in Sofia on Sunday, the operational HQ will issue a recommendation that mayors issue regulations on visits to public parks.

At the end of March, after breaches of the ban on visiting parks, the mayor of Bourgas ordered the removal of benches from two parks in the Black Sea city. Photo: Bourgas municipality.
In Plovdiv, the municipality taped over benches on the banks of the Maritsa river. Photo:

At the Saturday morning briefing, it was announced that the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in Bulgaria was now 1234, an increase of 63 in the past 24 hours. The total includes those who have died and those who have recovered. There are currently 983 active cases.

The death toll has risen in the past 24 hours by two, to 54, while the number of people who have recovered has increased by four to 197.

There are 285 people in hospital, up by 15 since the Friday morning briefing, while there 41 in intensive care, an increase of four.

A total of 135 medical personnel have tested positive.

Currently, all hospitals in Bulgaria designated by the Ministry of Health to treat Covid-19 cases have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) with a high degree of security, the briefing was told.

Mutafchiyski said that two months ago, there had been regional hospitals where infectious diseases wards had been closed while in other places they had been in a “tragic state”.

He said that in two months, Bulgaria’s health care system had been mobilised so that there were now 7400 beds available, and 1400 for intensive. “At the very beginning of the disease we had one laboratory, now we have 18,” Mutafchiyski said.

(Main photo, taken on March 20, of Zaimov Park in Sofia: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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