Covid-19 in Bulgaria, May 2: Cases, cars and the masks come off

In Sofia and other major cities in Bulgaria on May 2, public places saw some people wearing masks and others not, on the first day after the mandatory wearing of masks was rescinded.

On the second day of the three-day weekend, thousands more cars left Sofia, media reports said.

According to Bulgarian National Television, although Vitosha mountain was to officially “re-open” to the public on Sunday, Saturday already saw visitors to the national park.

In the Plovdiv district, people would be allowed to travel to the Rhodope mountains if they submitted declarations, with no other requirements, media in the city reported authorities as saying.

In Sofia, the plastic ribbons delineating routes along which people may walk in public parks are to be removed as of Sunday, according to mayor Yordanka Fandukova. However, those visiting parks are required to maintain physical distancing, and the rules about admitting only parents with children younger than 12, people walking dogs and people exercising on their own remain in place, the municipality said.

Photos of Plovdiv on May 2: Lance Nelson of

Saturday headed for sunset without any new orders or amendments to orders from Health Minister Kiril Ananiev. It is widely expected that among the next easing of restrictions in coming days will be the opening of public parks in cities to all visitors.

The morning saw the scrapping of the regular 8am briefings by operational headquarters chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski.

In line with the practice of previous weeks, the evening saw the release of a written update posted on the Ministry of Health’s website on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria.

The update said that there were 1594 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria. This is 39 more than 24 hours previously.

It said that there were 321 people in hospital, 40 of them in intensive care.

The death toll has risen by four in the past 24 hours to 72.

This includes Dr Iliana Ivanova, a doctor in the infectious ward of an hospital in Sliven, who died at the age of 43 after two days in intensive care. Reports said that her husband, a colleague in the same ward, was in quarantine.

The Bulgarian Medical Association announced a fundraising campaign for the families of medical professionals who died in the fight against coronavirus. The association said that it was opening with a donation of 5000 leva to Dr Ivanova’s family.

The update said the three other deaths were those of a 68-year-old man, who had heart and respiratory failure, who died in hospital in Blagoevgrad; an 80-year-old man with heart disease who died at the regional hospital in Vidin; and an 82-year-old woman who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, who died in Pleven.

The national operational HQ said on May 2 that the international scientific community had three scenarios regarding how the Covid-19 situation would develop. Whichever one proved true, significant presence of the coronavirus infection would continue for 18 to 24 months. This meant having to find a balance between anti-epidemic measures and restoration of the economy and social life, operational HQ secretary Dimo Dimov said.

He said that Bulgaria was gradually easing restrictive measures. The effects of this easing would be analysed and a decision made on further easing, or bringing back some of the measures.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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