Starting today, May 1, travelers will be able to travel to Bulgaria exempted from presenting a vaccination, recovery or test certificate, just like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry made the announcement earlier this week, pointing out that the country has opened its doors to all travelers, regardless of vaccination status or country of origin, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“As of May 1, 2022, all COVID-19-related travel restrictions will be lifted. From this date on, all the arriving passengers will no longer be required to provide COVID-19 related documents (ie, COVID-19 vaccination certificates, COVID-19 recovery certificates, COVID-19 medical examinations) in order for them to be allowed to enter the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria,” the press release issued by the Foreign Ministry reads.
The relaxation of entry rules by Bulgarian authorities has been announced in stages as initially, the COVID-19 requirements were lifted only for arrivals from EU Member States; Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Egypt and Israel.
Prior to this decision, the Bulgarian government had announced that all domestic protective COVID-19 restrictions were scrapped, including the mandatory requirement to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, events, or healthcare facilities.
“Our country has been in an extraordinary epidemic situation for almost two years, but at the moment, the situation is being monitored and managed in a predictable way. There is no need to maintain restrictions on citizens and businesses,” the authorities said last month.
Although the authorities had noted that the issue was discussed in detail over the past month, and the majority of the EU has scrapped entry rules, the measure was a shocker, consider the fact that Bulgaria has the lowest vaccination rollout in all 27 Member States of the European Union.
More specifically, only 30.2 per cent of the Bulgarians have received the first shot of the anti-COVID vaccine, while 29.7 per cent have been administered the primary course of vaccination. These rates are below the EU/EEA countries’ levels by over 42 per cent, as the data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows.
Currently, there are 3,767 positive cases of COVID-19 and 60 deaths reported in Bulgaria during the last seven days, as data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals.
Bulgaria joins the list of other countries that have lifted their travel restrictions, which consists of Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Czechia, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, and Sweden, with other countries like Switzerland and Lithuania to follow suit starting on May 1.