Bulgaria has added all EU countries -but four- to the high-risk or red category in an attempt to prevent the health system from getting overwhelmed with increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.
Third-party countries on the red list are not permitted to enter Bulgaria. EU travelers, on the other hand, are allowed to visit as long as they can produce a Negative COVID-19 test result or proof of being fully vaccinated.
The only EU countries exempt to present such requirements are the Vatican City, Spain, Malta and Sweden, which were placed on the green category this time around.
Bulgaria has also decided to prohibit flights from several Southern Africa nations.
Nationals and rightful residents returning home from Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia and Zimbabwe will be permitted entry but must undergo a ten-day quarantine.
They are also compelled to take a PCR test on day ten or twelve of their return.
Bulgaria currently ranks first in the world in terms of COVID-related deaths per capita.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the country has recorded 338.83 deaths per 100,000 citizens, only Brazil trailing them with 287.46 deaths.
“Each day Bulgaria loses the equivalent of one plane crash. It is really horrendous,” said Ruzha Smilova, program director at the Centre for Liberal Strategies.
With only 27 percent of its population fully vaccinated, Bulgaria has the lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, according to data from the (ECDC.)
The problem began last year, when the government miscalculated its vaccination strategy and under-ordered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, giving priority to AstraZeneca because they were less expensive and easier to store.
But then supply issues arose when the company failed to deliver the promised batches of the vaccine.
To make matters worse, the country is now ruled by a transitional government that has been cautious to impose stricter restrictions for fear of becoming unpopular.