Covid-19: Bulgaria makes wearing masks outdoors compulsory from October 22

From October 22, wearing protective masks while outdoors will be mandatory for everyone in Bulgaria, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said on October 20.

His announcement came against the background of the trend in recent weeks of steady increases in new coronavirus cases in Bulgaria, including on October 19, which saw the country’s death toll linked to the virus rise to 1008, and 1024 newly-confirmed cases in 24 hours.

Angelov was speaking at a meeting with the regional crisis headquarters in the Lovech district, having attended a meeting earlier in the day with top health officials and experts who had strongly backed making wearing masks outdoors compulsory, a stance that he endorsed.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of infected Bulgarian citizens so that fewer enter hospitals. We are also protecting Bulgarian medics with this measure. We must keep the medics alive so that there is someone to treat us,” Angelov said.

The order making wearing masks while outdoors will be issued on October 21, with Angelov saying that the day’s grace was being granted to allow people time to get masks.

For months, as a measure against Covid-19, Bulgaria has required the wearing of protective masks while in indoor public places, at medical establishments and on public transport.

Given the sharp rise in confirmed cases and deaths, police and health authorities in Bulgaria have begun a crackdown on those who are not complying with the anti-epidemic measures.

Sofia municipality said on October 20 that the day had seen teams inspect 381 shops in Bulgaria’s capital city, while inspections on public transport were continuing.

In April and May, Bulgaria’s government issued and later revoked an order requiring the wearing of protective masks in all public places, outdoors and indoors.

Angelov said that if the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria remained the same, the mandatory requirement to wear protective masks would stay in force until the end of November.

“We expect a reduction in morbidity if the measures are followed,” he said.

The October 21 Health Minister’s order is expected to provide for the reduction of mandatory quarantine for contact persons from 14 days to 10.

(Archive photo: Bulgaria’s Customs Agency)

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassy of Switzerland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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