Covid-19: More districts in Bulgaria announce stepped-up measures

Bulgaria’s districts of Kyustendil, Kurdzhali and Pazardzhik have become the latest to announce stepped-up measures against the spread of Covid-19 as the situation in the country deteriorates with rising rates of mortality and morbidity.

Similarly to measures in Sofia, Plovdiv and several other districts, the regional crisis staff in Kyustendil has ordered that pupils in the fifth to 12th grades go over to distance learning from March 15 to April 2 inclusive.

All group extracurricular activities for all age groups are suspended, with the exception a mathematics competition called “European Kangaroo”. Also suspended are in-person classes at language centres and other training schools.

All cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres, concerts, creative and musical arts classes are suspended.

It is mandatory to wear masks and personal protective equipment in public places where there is crowding and it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.

Private celebrations may be attended by no more than 15 people.

Shopping malls and large food and non-food retail chains must organise a system for customers to pass through, using no more than 30 per cent of the capacity, with customers remaining 1.5 metres apart and anyone not wearing a mask being barred from admission.

Unaccompanied minors may not visit restaurants and bars. All restaurants and places of entertainment must ensure a distance of 1.5m between the backs of the chairs and not allow more than six people per table.

The order bans all mass public events indoors and outdoors, visits to hospitals unless the patient being visited is terminal, and visits to social services homes and hospices.

The measures will be in force from March 15 to 28.

The district of Kurdzhali is back in the “red zone” for Covid-19, with an infection rate of 147 per 100 000 population.

The crisis staff has suspended planned operations at all hospitals, with exceptions for cancer patients, pregnant women and women in labour.

Kurdzhali has scrapped the “green corridor” system for vaccinations for all comers, while vaccinations will continue for those who have put their names down in the online register.

In the Pazardzhik district, pupils from the fifth to 12th grades are going over the online learning and all extracurricular activities and school trips are suspended. Private language schools have been told to suspend activities.

Owners of shopping malls and large retail chains are being ordered to prevent crowding and ensure a distance between customers of 1.5m.

The measures in Pazardzhik will remain in effect until April 1.

Meanwhile, outside Bulgaria, Switzerland has introduced, as of March 22, mandatory 10-day quarantine for those arriving from Bulgaria.

As before, those arriving from Bulgaria must present a negative PCR test. Mandatory 10-day quarantine may be lifted on presentation of a second negative test, after no earlier than seven days.

The same measures apply with regard to entry to Liechtenstein.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry called on Bulgarian citizens to refrain from unnecessary travel.

The ministry said that Bulgarians travelling to Montenegro will have to present a negative result from a PCR test performed not earlier than 48 hours before departure, a positive result from an IgG antibody test not older than 30 days, or a certificate of vaccination of a second dose at least seven days before the date of entry into Montenegro. The measure enters into force on March 13 and remains in effect until March 17.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

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

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The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.