April 6, 2020 / 6:39 PM / 2 months ago

Bulgaria bans entry to foreigners from almost all the world over coronavirus

SOFIA (Reuters) - European Union member Bulgaria banned entry to its territory to citizens from around the globe except for 19 EU member states, as it battles to contain the spread of the coronavirus, its health minister said on Monday.

The Balkan country has closed schools, restaurants and bars and restricted travel between cities since the middle of March in an attempt to slow the contagion. Some 549 Bulgarians have been infected with COVID-19 and 22 have died.

“I temporarily ban the entry to the territory of Bulgaria of all citizens of third countries through all border checkpoints with air, sea, rail or automobile transport,” the health minister said in a statement.

The minister also banned entry to all people coming from Italy, Spain, France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg.

Exceptions will be made for Bulgarian citizens coming home, as well as those who have long-term permits to live in the country and their families.

The measures will not apply to medics, social workers, transport crews, government officials and seasonal farm workers among others special cases, the statement said.

Bulgaria will allow transit crossing of people from the European Union and neighboring Serbia, North Macedonia Montenegro and Turkey who need to return to their home countries.

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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