COVID-19: Situation update in Bulgaria
Last updated: 26 November 2020
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria has declared an emergency epidemic situation in the entire territory of the country until 30 November 2020.
The Ministry of Health has imposed the following anti-epidemic measures on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria:
Please note: The anti-epidemic measures are being updated permanently according to the assessment of the situation. Their violation could result in a monetary fine or a prison sentence.
- The wearing of a face mask in all closed public places, including public transport, is mandatory.
- The wearing of a face mask in outdoor public gatherings is mandatory when 1,5 m distancing is not possible.
- Between 29 October and 21 December, all classes at Sofia University will be conducted online.
- Until 21 December, tours and group visits to tourist sites are suspended.
- Until 21 December, visits to restaurants, coffee shops, bars, dancing clubs, piano-bars, night-bars, nightclubs and other night drinking establishments are forbidden. Restaurants and fast food restaurants may deliver food by strictly observing all sanitary and hygienic requirements.
- Until 21 December, visits to commercial centres and shopping malls, sport and recreation centres, museums, galleries and cinemas are suspended.
- Grocery shops provide a “green corridor” between 8:30am–10:30am for customers over the age of 65. During these hours, people under the age of 65 will not be admitted. In case of queuing in commercial or administrative areas, sufficient distance has to be maintained.
- Some kinds of group activities, including individual and collective competitive sport games, cultural gatherings, entertaining and scientific events are suspended.
In compliance with the regulations issued by the Ministry of Health, Sofia University has undertaken specific measures: please follow this link for more details.
Entry and Exit Restrictions
Please note: These restrictions are changing often and quickly.
The Bulgarian government has issued a ban on the entry into the country as of 14 May 2020. This includes third-country nationals at all border crossing points with any means of transport, including aviation, maritime, rail, and road. These restrictions do not apply to Bulgarian citizens and their family members, or persons with permanent or long-term residence permits to stay in Bulgaria and members of their families; citizens of EU member states and countries which are part of the Schengen area; healthcare workers, health researchers; persons employed in the carriage of goods where necessary; diplomats, personnel of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian professionals; persons traveling for humanitarian reasons; seasonal workers in agricultural and tourism sector; transit passengers who hold a permanent or long-term residence permits to stay in another EU Member State.
In general, students coming to study in the academic year of 2020/2021 are permitted to enter Bulgaria. However, travelers from some countries must present a negative result from a PCR test done up to 72 hours before entering Bulgaria. The Bulgarian border authorities must be presented with a document written in Latin alphabet/script (i.e., PCR) including the result (Negative). The document must also contain the names of the person according to the identity document with which they travel, data about the laboratory that performed the test, and the date on which the PCR test was performed.
As of 28 September 2020, a PCR test is not required for nationals arriving in Bulgaria from EU Member States, the UK, and the Schengen countries (including Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City), as well as from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, the Republic of Belarus and Turkey.
Bear in mind that international travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries. Also, confirm the cancellation policy of your travel company. If travelling by plane, consider checking your airline’s website for additional guidance. Check regularly for updates of the public transport schedules and potential cancellations of flights.
It is prudent for travelers who are sick to delay or avoid travel to affected areas, in particular for elderly travelers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions.
Many countries (including neighboring Serbia, Romania, North Macedonia, Turkey, and Greece) are introducing entry or movement restrictions.
Stay aware of the latest entry and exit restrictions introduced in the country of destination, and the countries of transit if any. For more information: Re-open Europe.
Sofia University recommends all international students and staff to follow the instructions of the Bulgarian authorities and their respective national authorities.
To support the prevention of further spread of COVID-19, all Erasmus students are strongly recommended to avoid crowded gatherings, especially in closed places, and to follow the prescriptions of the World Health Organization regarding their own heath and safety (see below).
The Erasmus+ Office of Sofia University remains in contact with all incoming students and partner universities remotely, via e-mail.
These provisions will be subject to further review based on the assessment of the situation. Updates will follow when necessary.
Protection against infection
Please refer to the information provided by the World Health Organization:
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
– Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
– Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
– Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
– Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
– Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance (national 24-hour information line for Bulgaria: +359 2 807 87 57).
– Follow the directions of your local health authority.
– Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
In case of suspicion of infection
If you suspect that you became infected with the virus, you should follow the guidelines outlined here:
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance the national information line (+359 2 807 87 57) and inform about any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
National 24-hour information line for Bulgaria (Ministry of Health):
+359 2 807 87 57
Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate:
+359 2 832 91 62
+359 2 832 91 81
+359 2 8130 482
PCR testing is widely available at sites across the country, including hospitals and private laboratories.