The outbreak of COVID-19 is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us. The global pandemic of the coronavirus has caused severe measures and restrictions on our daily lives, and its aim is to slow its spread. On March 13, the Bulgarian government declared a state of emergency throughout the country and recommended that we practice "social distancing". This is a measure that has proved effective in places such as Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong and has slowed down the new cases over time.
Of course, it's natural to want to reach out and hug friends in these weird times, or to get rid of the general chaos of the news cycle by stepping outside. But at the moment, these simple actions are much more complicated.
Social distancing is about keeping a distance between us and other people as a measure to slow the spread of the infectious disease. This is important because COVID-19 is spread through contact with an infected person who is symptomatic (or 24 hours before doing so) or contact with a surface that potential carriers have touched.
Why do we need to distance ourselves socially?
Minimizing contact with other people will extend the time the virus moves through the population. This does not mean that there is a 100% guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it will ease the pressure on our health system. Social distance guarantees that our hospitals and staff can do better and save more lives.
Currently, in Plovdiv and Bulgaria, it is recommended that people self-isolate maximally and not leave home without a good reason. Visits to amusement and gambling halls, discos, bars, restaurants, fast food establishments, drinking establishments, coffee shops and major shopping malls are suspended, except for banking and insurance offices, grocery stores and pharmacies. Restaurants and fast food establishments are allowed deliveries in strict compliance with sanitary and hygiene requirements. Self-isolation is optional, but social distance is strongly recommended. Mandatory quarantine includes people who have returned from countries listed as at risk, as well as contacting those who have become ill.
The situation is extremely dynamic and the regulations are changing on a daily basis. Since March 17 our country has stopped flights from Spain and Italy, and Bulgarians who want to return from both countries have 48 hours to do so.
By order of Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, Bulgaria officially closes its borders from March 18 to citizens of China, Iran, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Spain, Italy, Korea, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and North Ireland.
It is recommended going out onlyin emergencies and severely restricting group contacts and gatherings. Even in public places, especially in queues at supermarkets, banking offices, pharmacies and other retail outlets, it is imperative that you keep a distance of at least 1-1.5 meters from those around you.
If you are a foreign national and you are in Bulgaria, keep an eye out for any news about travel and borders. For the most accurate information, it is advisable to contact your country's representatives in Bulgaria.