Bulgaria’s Health Minister changes arrivals rules for citizens of Israel, North Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia

After an outcry from Bulgaria’s winter resorts and hospitality industry over the Health Minister’s change of rules for arrivals in the country, the rules were changed in an order issued on the night of January 17.

Health Minister Assena Serbezova’s January 14 order barred arrivals, as of January 19, of non-EU citizens from countries deemed as Covid-19 red zones, with exceptions for permanent and long-term residents of Bulgaria and citizens of blocs and countries including the EU, the UK and Switzerland.

The January 14 order was condemned by winter resorts and the hotel and restaurant association as sounding the death knell for Bulgaria’s winter holiday tourism season, because it barred tourists from key markets entering the country.

That order has now been amended, reflecting “the recommendations and proposals made by the tourism sector,” the Health Ministry said.

As of January 20, citizens of North Macedonia, Israel, Turkey and Serbia and members of their families arriving from an EU country, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, the UK, Israel, North Macedonia, Turkey and Serbia, which are red zone countries, may be admitted to Bulgaria on presentation of a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate of vaccination or having had Covid-19, or similar document, along with a negative result of a PCR test done up to 72 hours before arriving in Bulgaria.

Also as of the same date, the list of red zone countries is lengthened, adding Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Maldives, Fiji, São Tomé and Príncipe and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The full list of red zone countries and territories now is:

Australia, Austria, Albania, Afghanistan, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, Grenada, Greenland, Georgia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Eswatini, Israel, Uruguay, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Canada, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Colombia, Switzerland, Guiana, North Korea, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Curacao, Lesotho, Lebanon, Bolivia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the Isle and Man, Aruba, Argentina, Botswana, Guatemala, Greece, El Salvador, Estonia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Cuba, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, North Macedonia, Seychelles, Suriname, Serbia, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Finland, Chile, South Africa, Saba, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United States, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Germany, Brazil, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Fiji, France, Croatia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic.

The Vatican City State and Romania are deemed to be green zones. A country that is neither a red zone nor a green zone is deemed to be an orange zone.

The Bulgarian Health Ministry’s current criteria for classifying a country as a Covid-19 red, orange or green zone may be found in English here. (the green, orange and red zone lists in that November 26 order are amended by the January 17 order).

The rules for admission to Bulgaria for those otherwise eligible to be admitted to the country are in The Sofia Globe’s previous coverage. Serbezova’s January 17 order may be found, in Bulgarian, at this link.

(Photo: Lance Nelson of banskoblog.com)

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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