Covid-19 in Bulgaria, May 12: VAT changes, new cases, demands from nurses

May 12 saw Bulgaria heading towards the end of the State of Emergency declared to contain the spread of Covid-19, with Parliament holding a special sitting on post-emergency legislation, and the Prime Minister announcing changes to VAT laws to help the hospitality industry.

The national operational headquarters said that as of 5pm on May 12, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bulgaria was 2023, an increase of 33 in the past 24 hours.

Two people who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in the past 24 hours.

One was a 43-year-old man from Pazardzhik, and the other an 83-year-woman, a resident of an old age home in Gara Oreshets, who died in hospital in Vratsa.

The total number of patients in hospital is now 365, three fewer than as at 5pm on May 11, while the number in intensive care has increased by one to 51.

The number of medical personnel who have tested positive for Covid-19 has increased by four to 218.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that on May 13, legislation would be tabled to reduce VAT for restaurants and places of entertainment categorised under the Tourism Act from the current 20 per cent to nine per cent.

Though he had said earlier in the day that the change would take effect in 2021, Borissov later said that the amendments would come into force this year.

May 12 is International Nurses Day, and the Association of Bulgarian Nurses submitted to the Cabinet, Parliament and Health Ministry a petition with 12 000 signatures demanding improved working conditions and higher pay.

Bulgarian National Radio quoted the head of the association, Maya Ilieva, as saying that the coronavirus pandemic had shown the necessirty of reforms to Bulgaria’s health system, because there are almost no nurses left in the country.

Varna municipality said that as of May 14, parking in the blue zone in the centre of the Black Sea city would no longer be free of charge. Capital city Sofia resumed charging for parking in blue and green zones as of May 7.

Plovdiv municipality said that the Ancient Theatre, Roman Stadium and house museums in the Old Town would re-open to the public on May 14. The Natural History Museum and Ivan Vazov library opened on May 12. Remaining cultural institutions would be opened by the end of the week, the municipality said.

Ryanair is to resume London Stansted – Sofia flights on May 15.

On May 12, the airline announced plans to return to 40 per cent of normal flight schedules from July 1 2020, subject to government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports.

Sofia Science Festival’s online “Day Zero” on May 17 will involve presentations connected to the Covid-19 pandemic. All are in Bulgarian. At 4.30pm, there will be one on mathematical modelling for Covid-19 in Bulgaria, at 6pm one on “70 days with the new coronavirus. How much more?” and at 8pm FameLab National Final 2020, also in Bulgarian. For those who understand Bulgarian, details of the programme are here.

The 2020 Sofia Science Festival will be held at Sofia Tech Park from September 26 to 29.

(Photo: Military Medical Academy)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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