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Bulgaria tightens travel restrictions as COVID infections surge

Bulgaria tightens travel restrictions as COVID infections surge
By Euronews  with Reuters - UK Online Report World News

Bulgaria will require almost all travellers from the European Union to have a negative PCR coronavirus test prior to entry along with a valid COVID certificate, starting on Friday, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The measure is aimed at limiting the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the ministry said.

The Balkan country recorded its first 12 Omicron cases since the New Year. On Wednesday it reported a sharp rise in new infections to over 6,200 from about 1,900 a day.

Under the updated rules, travellers from the EU countries that are on Bulgaria's red zone list, need to produce a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival. They will also have to present a valid certificate to show they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before they arrive in the country. Children younger than 12 are exempt.

The rule also applies to travellers from the United Kingdom.

Bulgarian citizens and their family members who don't have any of these documents will still be allowed into the country but will be placed under a 10-day mandatory quarantine - even if they test negative during this period.

On Bulgaria's red zone list are countries that have reported over 500 coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days or have reported a spread of coronavirus variant that raises concerns.

Beginning on Friday, Bulgaria will add the United States, Canada and Australia to its red zone list, effectively banning arrivals of foreigners from these countries.

Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Romania are the only EU member states that are not on Bulgaria's red zone list at present.