Health Ministry: Ban on entering Bulgaria from UK doesn’t apply to Bulgarian citizens, permanent residents

The ban on entering Bulgaria from the UK does not apply to Bulgarian citizens, permanent and long-term residents and medical specialists, among other categories of people.

This is according to an order published by Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov, posted on the ministry website on the night of December 21.

On the night of December 20, as a response to reports of a new strain of Covid-19 in the UK, Angelov issued an order banning the entry into Bulgaria of people arriving from the UK – whether by air, sea, rail or road. That order, in effect until January 31, also did not apply to Bulgarian citizens and holders of permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria and their families (while in any case it would unlawful to forbid a Bulgarian citizen from entering Bulgaria).

The December 21 order expanded the list of people to whom the entry ban does not apply, as of December 22.

Those exempted from the ban include medical specialists, medical researchers, social workers and their supervisors, when the purpose of the trip is related to the profession they practice; workers involved in the supply of medicinal products, medical devices and personal protective equipment, medical equipment, including its installation and maintenance.

The ban also does not apply to transport staff engaged in the international carriage of passengers and cargo and goods, aircraft crews, aircraft maintenance personnel and other transport personnel as required, including vessel crews and persons involved in the maintenance of vessels.

Also exempted are officials such as heads of state and members of governments, members of their delegations, as well as diplomats, members of the administrative and technical staff of foreign missions, employees of international organisations, service personnel, members of the security services and public order and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties, as well as members of their families.

It does not apply to people travelling for humanitarian reasons, as defined in the Foreigners Act, representatives of trade, economic and investment activities and persons directly related to construction, maintenance, operation and ensuring the safety of the strategic and critical infrastructure of Bulgaria, implementation of projects certified under the Investment Promotion Act, analysis of projects for potential investors and other activities of importance for the country’s economy, certified by a letter from the Minister of Economy or another minister responsible for the respective activity, as well as people engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair, as well as their family members.

Exempted are seasonal agricultural workers and workers in the field of tourism, and people passing in transit through Bulgaria, when immediate departure from Bulgaria can be guaranteed.

The ministry said that everyone whose starting point of departure was the UK must go into quarantine for 10 days, at home or at a place that they have indicated.

The 10-day quarantine requirement does not apply to heads of state and government officials and their delegations, provided that they present a document certifying a negative PCR test done more than 48 hours before arriving in Bulgaria.

Also exempted from quarantine are drivers of lorries transiting the country or loading or unloading goods for international transport, crews of vessels provided they stay aboard, air crews and maintenance staff, provided they do not leave their aircraft, except for mandatory pre-flight preparations and as long as their scheduled take-off on a subsequent planned flight does not exceed 12 hours; and those in transit through the country.

(Photo of Sofia Airport: Margarita-kiril86)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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