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 Sofia News Agency 
Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency)
Real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news - economic, political and cultural, foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and world news.

Bulgaria’s GDP to Decline by 3% in the Worst Case Scenario

The latest budgetary changes adopted by the Bulgarian government are based on the worst case scenario for the development of the COVID-19 crisis, this country’s Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov said. We have developed three different scenarios, but we assume the most negative one, in order to guarantee the functioning of all public systems until the end of 2020. According to the most-negative expectations and forecasts, GDP will decrease with 3% and unemployment will see a 2% increase. 

I continue to believe that conservative planning and good fiscal policy provide the best response options, Minister Goranov contends. Bulgaria may amend the state budget again in September if necessary, Minister Vladislav Goranov added, BNR reported.

The state treasury may lose EUR 1.2 billion from unpaid value added tax, excise duties, corporate tax, social security contributions and taxes. Moreover, the state must finance the three-month extraordinary measure to pay the Bulgarian employers to keep their staff. These are only preliminary estimates, Minister Goranov pointed out and added that it will all depend on how long the restrictions will continue, because all measures influence factors such as end consumption and investments. The uncertainty about the future makes people limit consumption. According to the best case scenario, economic growth in 2020 will amount to 0.7%. According to the intermediate option, there will be zero economic growth this year. All budgetary amendments proposed by the cabinet will be discussed at an extraordinary sitting of the Bulgarian National Assembly. 

Bulgarian and Romanian Medics Left for Austria to Help with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Chartered flights brought more than 200 health workers to Austria on Monday (30 March) to ensure that care was not disrupted by COVID-19 travel restrictions, a regional official said., Euractiv announced.

On Monday, 231 Bulgarian and Romanian medics departed in the region of Lower Austria, with organised flights from Sofia and Timisoara.

Regional social affairs official Christiane Teschl-Hofmeister told public radio station Oe1: “I can’t tell you now whether this will be a one-off action or not.”

“If the need presents itself again we will try to do everything we can to fulfil it,” she said.

The Austrian health system is highly dependant on Eastern European staff. Most of them go to Austria, stay there for several weeks and return to their home countries. The Bulgarian and Romanian caregivers will be placed under fourteen day quarantine in a local hotel. They are expected to stay and work longer than just a month. The Lower Austria state needs 70 healthcare workers, but more people were hired as a “security measure”. 

Good News from China 92% of COVID-19 Patients are Cured

About 92% of those in infected in China have recovered and their numbers have increased in recent weeks. This was announced by WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic for RIA Novosti.

Of the 81,000 cases in China, more than 74,000 have already been discharged from hospitals.

He recalled that according to WHO recommendations, a patient could be discharged from hospital after two consecutive tests with negative result, with at least 24 hours between them.

Bulgaria’s Government Proposes Budget Update, Increase in Debt Ceiling

The Bulgarian government on March 30 proposed a budget update because of the coronavirus crisis.

Due to the emergency measures and consequences for the Bulgarian economy, the cabinet proposes that the National Assembly vote on a budget deficit for this year of 2.9% of GDP, or BGN 3.5 billion, BNT reported.

The Cabinet proposes to increase the ceiling for taking on new government debt from 2.2 to BGN 10 billion.

The reason for the update is the expected non-fulfillment of the tax and social security revenues for this year of BGN 2.44 billion, non-fulfillment of the State Social Security revenues to the amount of BGN 430 million.

BGN 700 million - for the Bulgarian Development Bank for government guaranteed business loans, and BGN 2.4 billion for the 60 to 40 scheme ( The payment of compensations to employers for the purpose of keeping their staff employed under the state of emergency. The compensation amounts to 60% of the contributory income for January 2020 and is for the benefit of each employee who is laid off or transferred to reduced working hours.)

Among the reasons for the requested update, the Cabinet also said that it is expected that domestic consumption will decrease, exports and imports will shrink, and employment will be lower.

Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov will give a briefing tomorrow with more details.

The Pandemic is still on the Rise: Over 800,000 Infected and more than 38,000 Deaths Worldwide

The number of coronavirus infected in the world has already exceeded 800,000 people. This was reported by Johns Hopkins University.

The death toll from the infection is 38 743 people. There are 164 610 infected in the United States. The US is followed by Italy with 101 739 people, Spain with 94 417 people, China with 82 272 people and Germany with 67 051 people.

The highest death toll is in Italy - 11 591, followed by Spain - 8 189 and the Chinese province of Hubei - 3 187. In France, there are 3 024 death cases, in Iran - 2 898, in the United Kingdom - 1 408.

Facebook will Help the News Industry Affected by the Coronavirus

Facebook will provide $ 100 million in financial assistance to support media affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

"The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Facebook's news partnerships director, Campbell Brown.

"At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus. Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe."

The social network announced a "$100 million investment to support the news industry—$25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and $75 million in additional marketing spend to move money over to news organizations around the world."

Facebook has recently announced that it will temporarily reduce the quality of video streaming in its main platform and in the Europe app.

In this way, the social network wants to help avoid potential network problems at a time when Europeans are working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

America Gives Ukraine $ 1.2 Million to Fight the Coronavirus

USAID will give Ukraine $ 1.2 million to combat the coronavirus spread, the agency's office in Ukraine quoted TASS as saying. 

"With the funding just announced, USAID will help Ukraine strengthen its mechanisms of treatment interventions to minimize the risk of further transmission of the virus, to prevent and limit the number of infections in health facilities, to prepare the laboratory network for large-scale COVID-19 testing. It will also provide conducting of media campaigns to inform Ukrainians on how to prevent the spread of the virus,” the message reads.

“We stand by Ukraine in these extremely difficult times. With this support package, we aim at saving lives and strengthening societal resilience. We support the Ukrainian response to a spike in health and social assistance needs as well as the protection of businesses and jobs. We know we need to act quickly and efficiently in reinforcing government and civic action,” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said.

To date, 549 cases have been registered in Ukraine, 13 people have died and 9 have recovered. The country is under quarantine, which began on March 17 and will continue until April 24. 

399 COVID-19 Cases in Bulgaria

399 are the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria according to data from the National Operational Headquarters. The new laboratory-proven cases are 20, 19 of them in Sofia and one in Pernik.

146 of the infected are hospitalized,14 of whom are intubated.

There are 227 COVID-19 infected men and 172 COVID-19 infected women.

The registered cases by administrative districts are as follows: Blagoevgrad - 11; Burgas - 18; Varna - 20; Veliko Tarnovo - 2; Gabrovo - 2; Dobrich - 6; Kardzhali - 6; Kyustendil - 6; Lovech - 1; Montana - 17; Pazardzhik - 7; Pernik - 6; Pleven - 9; Plovdiv - 24; Silistra - 2; Sliven - 4; Smolyan - 7; Sofia - 244; Stara Zagora - 2; Haskovo - 1; Shumen - 4.

 

Spain: 849 Casualties in 24 Hours

849 people died from a coronavirus in Spain in 24 hours, the BBC reported.

This is the highest number of casualties in a day since the start of the epidemic about a month and a half ago.

"The total number of deaths in the Western European country has reached 8189 people to date," the Madrid Health Ministry said.

Because of the Pandemic: The Boxing Match between Kubrat Pulev and Anthony Joshua Postponed

The long-awaited heavyweight boxing match between Kubrat Pulev and Anthony Joshua won't take place on June 20.

This was reported by the Joshua's manager, Eddie Hearn, quoted by The Sun. According to him, the new date for the meeting will be July 25. The venue remains unchanged - Tottenham Stadium.

"Anthony Joshua's duel (against Kubrat Pulev) will be rescheduled at the end of July, " Hearn said.

Earlier Pulev said that "It is impossible for the fight to take place on June 20, although I am ready,"

"The match will take place a few months later, perhaps towards the end of the year."

PM Borissov: Bulgaria is Interested in Buying 30,000 PCR Tests from South Korea

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov held a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in. The two leaders discussed current information on the spread of COVID-19 and effective measures to curb the disease. At the beginning of the conversation, it was noted that the two countries are working to put the coronavirus epidemic under control.

The Korean president informed Borissov that to help early detection of the virus and limit its spread, the Korean state has increased testing of its citizens with PCR tests The Bulgarian government showed interest in buying 30,000 PCR tests a month from South Korea. President Moon Jae-in promised Premier Borissov to check the available quantities of PCR tests and when these tests can be shipped to Bulgaria in the shortest time.

During the telephone conversation between the two, it was emphasized that Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea are applying the same measures of self isolation and distance, as well as the same processes of prevention and treatment. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and President Moon Jae-in shared the view that Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea have taken some of the most adequate measures to protect the health of their citizens and to cure patients suffering from the new virus. "We would like to continue the excellent cooperation between the two countries, as this is the only way we can successfully overcome the unprecedented challenge - the COVID-19 pandemic" Prime Minister Borissov said.

Turkmenistan Bans the Word "Coronavirus"

According to the latest data, there are no coronavirus infected in the country.

Authorities in Turkmenistan have banned the use of the word "coronavirus" and have excluded it from the daily dictionary to hide information about the pandemic, according to BGNES.

According to the human rights organization, all media outlets in the country are forbidden to use the word in their publications. The Coronavirus has been dropped from official brochures distributed by the Ministry of Health of Turkmenistan to schools, hospitals and various agencies.

Citizens walking the streets with masks talking about the coronavirus pandemic around the world are at the risk of being arrested.

785 thousand COVID-19 Infected Worldwide, over 165 Thousand are Cured

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 infected in the world are more than 785 thousand, and those who are cured are more than 165 thousand.

World Bank calculations show that there will be a sharp slowdown in China's economic growth, with projections of a decline between 2.3 and 6%. Except for the country itself, it will cause a serious decline across the continent, with more than 11 million people directly threatened. The effects of the pandemic will continue beyond 2020. The region is particularly vulnerable due to the trade war between the US and China, according to a World Bank report.

Against this background, many countries are tightening their measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, with some in place by the end of May.

Minister Marinov: The Order that Requires all People to Wear Masks in Public Places has been Canceled

The order that requires all people to wear masks in public places has been canceled. This will be the case until full consensus is reached. The Ministry of Health will buy 1,000,000 masks and distribute them to citizens. We are deeply convinced of the need to wear masks. It is no accident that the EC strongly supported the measures taken by the Bulgarian state. They give us an example. They are aimed entirely at preserving the health and life of Bulgarian citizens. Health Minister Kiril Ananiev said at a briefing on the occasion of the coronavirus pandemic.

The EC Called for Free Movement of Critical Workers to be Guaranteed

Today, the Commission has issued new practical advice to ensure that mobile workers within the EU, in particular those in critical occupations to fight the coronavirus pandemic, can reach their workplace. This includes but is not limited to those working in the health care and food sectors, and other essential services like childcare, elderly care, and critical staff for utilities. Together with the Guidance on the implementation of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU also issued today, this responds to requests made by EU leaders on 26 March and seeks to address practical concerns of citizens and companies affected by the measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus, as well as of national authorities implementing the measures.

While it is understandable that Member States have introduced internal border controls to limit the spread of the coronavirus, it is imperative that critical workers are able to reach their destination without delay.

Nicolas Schmit, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: “Thousands of women and men working hard to keep us safe, healthy and with food on the table need to cross EU borders to go to work. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that they are not hindered in their movement, while taking every precaution to avoid further spread of the pandemic.”

The guidelines published today identify a range of workers that exercise critical occupations, and for which continued free movement in the EU is deemed essential. The list provided in these guidelines is not exhaustive. Examples include health associate professionals, child and elderly care workers, scientists in health-related industries, those needed to install critical medical devices, firefighters and police officers, transport workers, as well as persons working in the food sector. The Commission urges Member States to establish specific burden free and fast procedures to ensure a smooth passage for such frontier workers, including proportionate health screening.

Beyond these specific categories of workers, the guidelines also clarify that Member States should allow frontier workers in general to continue crossing borders if work in the sector concerned is still allowed in the host Member State.Member States should treat cross border workers and national workers in the same manner.

As regards seasonal workers, particularly in the agricultural sector, Member States are asked to exchange information on their different needs at technical level and to establish specific procedures to ensure a smooth passage for such workers, in order to respond to labour shortages as a result of the crisis. Seasonal workers in agriculture perform in certain circumstances critical harvesting, planting and tending functions. In such a situation, Member States should treat those persons as critical workers and communicate to the employers the necessity to provide for adequate health and safety protection.

These guidelines complement the recently adopted Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services as well as the Guidance on the implementation of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU which were also presented today.

The Commission will continue to identify the best practices with Member States which can be extended to all Member States for allowing workers to exercise their crucial occupations without undue hindrance, the European Commission said in a press release.

 

672,300 People have Acquired Citizenship in One of the 27 EU Member States

In 2018, around 672 300 persons acquired citizenship of one of the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU), down from 700 600 in 2017 and 843 900 in 2016.

Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2018, 13% were former citizens of another EU Member State, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless. The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU Member State where they lived in 2018 was citizens of Morocco (67 200 persons, of whom 84% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (47 400, 97% acquired citizenship of Greece or Italy), Turkey (28 400, 59% acquired German citizenship), Brazil (23 100, 76% acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal), Romania (21 500, 51% acquired citizenship of Italy or Germany), Algeria (18 400, 81% acquired French citizenship), the United Kingdom (16 200, 59% acquired citizenship of Germany or France), Syria (16 000, 66% acquired citizenship of Sweden), Russia (15 800, 31% acquired German citizenship) and Ukraine (15 400, 55% acquired citizenship of Germany, Poland or Italy). Romanians (21 500 persons), Poles (13 900) and Italians (8 100) were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State.

These data come from an article issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Trump: We will Help Italy with $ 100 Million

US President Donald Trump has announced he has promised Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte medical aid worth $ 100 million to fight the coronavirus.

"We're going to be sending approximately $100 million worth of things, of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy,' Trump told reporters Monday in the White House Rose Garden. 'And Giuseppe was very, very happy, I will tell you that, they're having a very hard time."

 

Turkey's President will Donate 7 Salaries to Fight COVID-19

The Head of State has initiated a national solidarity campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he is donating 7 monthly salaries to help fight COVID-19.

In doing so, the Head of State became the initiator of a national solidarity campaign, which he addressed to the nation.

In a videoconference address, Erdogan called on all institutions, including civic organizations, and individuals to join the campaign to the best of their ability.

Its purpose is to support the poor in the population affected by the epidemic or economic measures to stop the spread of the infection.

The funds raised will be distributed through the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundations, as is available in all provinces of Turkey, Erdogan said.

Bank accounts have been opened and will be donated, including through donations.

According to official figures, the Turkish president's monthly salary is 49,400 Turkish pounds.

Italy Extends the Quarantine until April 12

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the national quarantine imposed in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus would be extended until at least Easter, DPA and France Press reports.

This year Easter falls on April 12, and the current restrictive measures expire on April 3. 

The minister said the decision to extend the quarantine term was on the recommendation of the cabinet's scientific advisers. "The government will go in this direction," Speranza added.

Italy is the hardest hit by the coronavirus country. Since the start of the epidemic, which began on February 21, 11,591 people have died in Italy, Reuters notes.

The Number of Infected with the -COVID-19 is Approaching 750,000 People

The number of people infected with the new coronavirus is approaching 750,000, according to information from the Johns Hopkins Institute, which continuously monitors the pandemic. The number changing every minute. Yesterday, at 7.30pm it was 745 308.

In the first place, the number of those infected is 144 146, followed by Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe with 97 689, the third place in the dark ranking is Spain with 85 195.

China, where the pandemic left at the end of last year, has 82,198.

The number of deaths from the pandemic is 10 779 in Italy, followed by Spain with 7 340. The Chinese province of Hubei, where the virus started, ranks third place with 3 186 death cases.

In Europe, 400,000 people already tested positive for the virus.

Another 25 COVID-19 Infected in Bulgaria

The number of coronavirus infected in the country is already 379. This was announced at a briefing at the National Operations Headquarters. General Ventsislav Mutafchiiski reported that there are 25 more cases of COVID-19 infected in Bulgaria. 

113 of the patients are hospitalized. The intubated are in intensive care units.

He announced that there is a new area in which the infection has been established and that is Silistra.

A total of 17 people were discharged with two negative samples for COVID-19.

Weather Foreast: Mostly Cloudy with Rain

Today, the weather across Bulgaria will be mostly cloudy, with light, scattered rain. Moderate, or temporarily strong in the Danubian Plain and eastern Bulgaria, winds will bring cold air from the north-northeast. In the evening, precipitation in western Bulgaria will intensify and quickly turn to snow, which will accumulate overnight.

Maximum temperatures between 10C and 15C, lower in northeastern Bulgaria – 6-9C, in Sofia around 10C. Atmospheric pressure will be higher than the average for March and will remain unchanged during the day.

This is the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH).

“The Global PR Revolution” by Maxim Behar Now in Ebook Format in Bulgarian

One of the most successful PR books at the moment “The Global PR Revolution” by Maxim Behar is now available in ebook format in Bulgarian language. The book can be purchased from the website of Helikon bookstore and in the next weeks it will be offered by some other online stores, as well. The digital edition is in .epub format and is compatible with not only with e-readers, but also with tablets, smartphones and computers.

“The Global PR Revolution” by the internationally recognized PR expert Maxim Behar was initially launched in the USA, where it achieved an incredible success.The book contains opinions of 100 of the most prominent PR professionals from 65 countries from 6 continents and readers consider it as a PR bible. Within 2 weeks, “The Global PR Revolution” was the best-selling book on Amazon.com in the categories Public Relations, Sales Marketing and Career Advice.

“I am glad that “The Global PR Revolution” is already available in ebook format in Bulgarian in a moment when people need more than ever a good read and most bookstores are closed. The book is absolutely relevant to the current situation, as one of the issues it addresses is how the business and the societies adapt to the new realities and deal with crises”, commented the author Maxim Behar.

“The Global PR Revolution” was published in Bulgaria by Enthusiast Publishing at the end of 2019. The first edition of the book was out of stock for less than a month, and a few days after its official premiere it became the best-selling book in Greenwich Centre.  

6,000 sq m of Low Forest Vegetation Burned Down near Skala Village

A wildfire in a deciduous forest near Skala village broke out on 29 March at about 3:30 pm; the fire was caused by human negligence, said the Silistra Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior, quoted by Focus News Agency.

The flames spread and destroyed about 6,000 square metres of low forest vegetation, but the forest was rescued after firefighters of the local Fire Safty and Civil Protection in Dulovo extinguished the fire.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet Approves Purchase of 1 Million Face-Protection Masks from China

Bulgaria’s cabinet has approved a contract with the China National Pharmaceutical Group for delivery of personal protective equipment- face protection masks type KN95. According to the contract, the Bulgarian Ministry of Health will buy 1 million medical masks type KN95 to the tune of EUR 1.67 million, BNR reported.

The masks will be used to satisfy the needs of the medical staff, the state health control bodies and other persons involved in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Bulgaria. According to the Chinese National standard GB2626-2006, the face-protection masks type KN95 can filter particles with 95% efficiency. 

 

Masks are Now Mandatory

All persons are required to wear a protective mask when in indoor or outdoor public places. Such an order was given by Health Minister Kiril Ananiev with a new order from today.

As of tomorrow (March 31st), 7 pm, the 14-day quarantine in the town of Bansko is canceled. The ban on entering and leaving the city is also lifted. This was ordered by Health Minister Kiril Ananiev.

Bansko will continue to apply anti-epidemic measures that apply nationwide.

The organization of the control over the wearing of masks is the responsibility of the interior minister and the governors. Law enforcement officials will monitor the implementation of the measure.

The order states that measures are being taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is a severe public and national public health emergency.

Australia Tests Tuberculosis Vaccine to Fight Coronavirus

Australian medics will launch tuberculosis vaccine tests in an attempt to fight the coronavirus. They have joined a global test to find a non-traditional solution involving several countries.

The BCG Vaccine Test will include 4,000 medical specialists from different hospitals in Australia to see if it can reduce the COVID-19 risk, said researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne.

Although the developed against tuberculosis, BCG boosts immunity. "We hope to see a reduction in the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms in BCG-vaccinated healthcare workers," said lead researcher Nigel Curtis.

The study will reach 4,000 people as part of a fast-tracked process conducted with the approval of state and federal health authorities. Similar tests are being conducted in several other countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The tests are expected to allow the effect of the COVID-19 vaccine to be seen and to help preserve the lives of first-line health care workers. Improving innate immunity to coronavirus symptoms will take time, as will the development of a specific vaccine.

The Sale of E-Vignettes May Be Hampered on March 31

Tomorrow - March 31, between 4 pm and 6 pm, activities for implementing updates of the electronic system for toll collection, the Road Infrastructure Agency said.

It is possible that partial delays and interruptions occur, which could hamper e-vignettes and route cards sales.

To avoid the risk of facing problems with the purchase of an e-vignette for cars and a route card for trucks and buses during the scheduled updates, it is recommended that drivers carefully plan their trip on the national road network and buy an e-vignette in a timely manner.

 

5 New COVID-19 Cases in the Country

There are 5 new COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria. Thus, the number of coronavirus infected in the country is already 359. This was announced by General Ventsislav Mutafchiiski.

The average age of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 is 45 years.

Which are the Sectors and Companies that would be Eligible for the 60:40 Measure

The list of sectors directly affected by the state of emergency is clear. They will be supported under the 60 to 40 measure. This was announced by Minister Denitsa Sacheva at a briefing on the intentions to support the business during the crisis with COVID-19.

These are: retail trade, excluding trade in motor vehicles and motorcycles, land transport, passenger air transport, hotels, restaurants and bars, drinking establishments, cinemas, tourist and tour operator activities, organization of congresses and trade shows, pre-school education involving mainly the private sector of kindergartens, artistic and creative activities, sports and other activities, maintaining good physical condition.

Employers will be able to apply as of tomorrow at the Employment Agency. The decision will take up to 7 days. They will receive compensation within 5 days, Sacheva added.

Other companies that can hope for government assistance will be able to apply by declaring a 20% drop in sales. March will be used as a reference month. For companies established after March, 2019 there is a separate line to prove the turnover, said Sacheva.

Labor relations with workers must be concluded before the state of emergency is introduced - 13 March. There will be a public register of the supported companies. It will be published on the NSSI website. The control will be strengthened. It will be implemented by the NRA and the GIT. Checks on the veracity of the documentation will be made throughout the year. The measure will relate to workers' insurance income, Sacheva said.

If the employer does not pay the remaining 40% of the workers' compensation, they will also recover 60% of the state aid. "The total number of unemployed is over 200,000. As of March 27, they are 213,700, and those who have registered since the beginning of the crisis are now 9,909," the social minister revealed. According to Sacheva, the measure can be applied month after month, so far its total validity period is 3 months. Also, employers will only be able to apply for a portion of their employees if they have others whose work is not hampered by a state of emergency.

"Intensive work is currently underway in the Ministry of Finance and the government on initial data on the state budget update," Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov revealed.

"We have not discussed a change in the pension legislation related to the provision of retirement income. Our role is to preserve the ability of the state to fulfill its function," said Vladislav Goranov.

"No one will be forced to impose this measure. We will give as much as we need for these 3 months." he added.

We will hold another digital meeting tonight at 6.30pm to bring the budget update for the 60/40 measure. The optimistic option is that it will cost about 1 - 1.5 billion BGN. Earlier, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told a briefing at the Council of Ministers.

The Initial Ban on all Flights from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain is being Extended until April 12

The initial ban on all flights from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain is being extended until April 12, with the exception of those authorized by DG CAA, according to MTITC.

The Bulgarian side may seek alternative measures, including, if necessary, additional flights to Italy and Spain, for the transportation of Bulgarian citizens who would like to return to Bulgaria. All arriving passengers / Bulgarian citizens and foreigners / from these countries are subject to the 14-day quarantine, the order states.

The ban was notified to all air carriers with a valid Community operating license carrying passengers, cargo and mail from / to the territory of Bulgaria, to the Air Traffic Police, all airports for public use in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, and was published on the website DG CAA: There are no restrictions on cargo flights, including mail, for the performance of public flights, humanitarian flights and emergency medical services, as well as landings for technical reasons at aircraft at airports orator Bulgaria, specify your site from MTITC.

The MTITC recalls the measures included in DG CAA's "Flight Safety Bulletin" to implement mandatory minimum anti-epidemic measures by all air carriers, cabin crews, airport operators, ground operators and aircraft maintenance organizations.

These include only passengers with a valid ticket at the airport terminals, with a minimum distance of 1 meter between departing passengers at the terminal.

Important are the requirements - passengers must be present at the processing terminal at least 2 hours before departure; Airport and ground handling personnel should be provided with protective medical equipment (masks, gloves); compulsory separation and escort of passengers arriving by separate flights; all passengers / arriving and departing / subject to health check / temperature measurement / arriving passengers are obliged to fill in a questionnaire / electronic questionnaire.

Airport operators are required to submit daily scheduled flight reports to DG CAA and to apply quarantine procedures in coordination with the public health authorities. Passengers, in turn, should be informed of the procedure in place if a passenger infected with -19 is identified on board and pilots report suspected cases on board 19 to air traffic control before landing.

Up-to-date information on all canceled flights to and from Sofia Airport as of 10.00 am today, March 30, can be viewed on the MTITS website under heading 19.

With regard to rail transport - with the continuation of the order until April 12 all international trains operating cross-border passenger services to and from neighboring countries - Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Romania - have been stopped. There is no restriction on rail freight.COVID-COVID-

Prince Charles has Recovered from the COVID-19

Prince Charles has recovered from the coronavirus, media have reported. He has given two negative samples and is already feeling much better.

"After consulting with his GP, Prince Charles is no longer quarantined," Clarence House said.

The quarantine of the 71-year-old Prince lasted for a week, as required by the government. However, Prince Charles will continue to make meetings either on the phone or through video.

His wife, Camilla, 72, was also tested, but her test was negative. The two are isolated in their home in Scotland.

2020 Summer Olympics - On July 23rd

This was announced by the organizers

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on July 23, 2021, organizers said.

Expect details.

German Giant Bosch has Developed Rapid COVID-19 Tests

The German company Bosch has developed a rapid test to detect the new coronavirus, the result of which is ready in two and a half hours and gives 95% accuracy. The new test uses the molecular diagnostics of Vivalytic made by Bosch Health Department and used in hospitals, laboratories and medical practices. The rapid test meets the quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).

But how do they work?

A statement of the compnay said: "

A sample is taken from the patient’s nose or throat using a swab. Then the cartridge, which already contains all the reagents required for the test, is inserted into the Vivalytic device for analysis. During the analysis, medical staff can devote themselves to other tasks, for example treating patients. The Vivalytic analyzer is designed to be so user-friendly that even medical personnel who have not been specially trained on it can reliably perform the test. A Bosch Vivalytic analyzer can perform up to ten tests in the space of 24 hours. This means it takes just 100 devices to evaluate up to 1,000 tests per day. Given the dynamic spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, laboratories are already working beyond capacity. The Bosch Vivalytic will thus help to increase available testing capacities."

“We want the Bosch rapid COVID-19 test to play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. It will speed up the identification and isolation of infected patients,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

“Time is of the essence in the fight against coronavirus. Reliable, rapid diagnosis directly on site with no back and forth – that is the great advantage of our solution,” Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said in a statement.

Bulgaria Closes its Borders for Foreigners until April 17th

Bulgaria closes its borders until April 17. The measure applies to all non-European citizens or arrivals from the following EU Member States and Schengen countries: Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The exception is for Bulgarian citizens, members of their families and persons with permanent and long-term residence status on the territory of the country.

This was reported by the Directorate-General for Border Police. The temporary restriction applies to all border crossings by aircraft, sea, rail and road.

The New Dates for the Postponed Tokyo Olympics to be Revealed this Week

The new dates for the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be revealed this week, organizers announced on Monday.

Organizing Committee Chairman Yoshiro Mori told reporters that options for hosting the Games in the spring and summer were being discussed and the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to be announced soon.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were scheduled to take place between July 24 and August 9, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first ever postponement of the Games in peacetime.

One Was Killed and 127 Were Injured in a Train Accident in China

At least one person was killed and 127 were injured in a railroad crash in China today, TASS reported.

A passenger train departing from Jinan City to Guangzhou derailed in central China's Hunan Province. According to the newspaper, at least four of the injured are in critical condition.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the incident was caused by a landslide after prolonged rainfall in the area.

As soon as he saw it, the driver useed the emergency brake, but the composition did not stop in time and five wagons left the rails.

A fire broke out on the train.

The Tragedy in Spain is Growing: Over 800 COVID-19 Victims for the Last 24 Hours

The death toll of coronavirus in Spain has increased today by 812 people to 7340 from 6528 on Sunday, the Spanish health ministry said.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is 85,195. Yesterday they were 78,797. Thus, the number of infected in Spain exceeds those reported in China.

China Expert: Coronavirus Pandemic may Decline in October

The coronavirus pandemic may decline in October this year, but there is no timeframe for the end of the COVID-19 spread so far. This is the opinion of the expert at the Shanghai Huashan Hospital Zhang Menghuang, quoted by the Chinese newspaper Shanghai Daily, TASS reported. "The most favourable season may be autumn, as the spread of the virus is likely to decline in October," the expert said but warned that the virus would then persist for a long time.

This opinion was expressed during a videoconference dedicated to the spread of the new coronavirus, which involved both Chinese and overseas specialists. However, there no consensus was reached among experts as to whether raising the air temperature would help weaken the virus. Efforts should now be focused on taking action to respond to the change in the virus and paying more attention to patients who carry the virus in the virus. mild, as they make up 80 percent of the total contagion cases, according to Lou Shan University of Medicine professor of medicine.

There is a 30-40 percent chance of controlling the pandemic during the course of the infection. However, there are serious concerns that the virus will continue to spread throughout the world, Hong Kong University virologist said.

World Bank: The Poor Countries Will Take the Hardest Hit

The poor countries "will take the hardest hit, especially ones that were already heavily indebted before the crisis," said David Malpass, World Bank chief.

Leaders of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday stressed the need to provide debt relief to poorer countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic and stated that official bilateral lenders would have a key role to play.

IMF and World Bank launch emergency grant and loan programs for Member States, with strong focus on developing countries and emerging markets, some of which are already in debt. They also called on official bilateral creditors to provide immediate debt relief to the poorest countries in the world.

"Many countries will need debt relief. This is the only way they can concentrate any new resources on fighting the pandemic and its economic and social consequences," Malpass said, according to a text of his remarks.

He said the bank is conducting emergency operations in 60 countries, and its board is considering the first 25 projects worth nearly $ 2 billion as part of a $ 14 billion quick action supporting the financing of immediate healthcare needs.

The World Bank is also working with 35 countries to redirect existing resources to tackle the pandemic, with nearly $ 1 billion of those projects already approved. In general, the bank plans to spend $ 160 billion over the next 15 months, Malpass said.

Malpass added that the IMF and the World Bank will present a joint debt relief plan at the institution's virtual spring meetings in April, but did not provide details.

The poorest countries face official $ 14 billion in bilateral debt service payments in 2020, including interest payments and amortization, Malpass said.

Less than $ 4 billion of that $ 14 billion is owed to the United States and other members of the Paris Club. China, a major lender, is not a member of the Paris Club - an informal group of creditors working to resolve the payment problems facing debtor nations.

Given the high proportion of debt held by official bilateral creditors, Malpas said it was crucial to ensure their "broad and fair participation" in dealing with the crisis.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned that half of low-income countries are already in a "big debt" disaster and much will depend on how official creditors will act.

She said there were already discussions between the 20 largest economies in the world, the G20, and the Paris Club. But she noted that there would be a role for private lenders, as it was during the global financial crisis in 2008-2009

"The sooner we do it, the better," Georgieva said. "The same way the fund during the global financial crisis brought together both official creditors and private creditors to assess a good pathway through a dramatic crisis, we have to do it this time around as well."

Decline of New COVID-19 Cases in China

There were 31 new cases on Sunday in the country.

China has reported a fall in new cases of coronavirus infection for the 4th consecutive day after drastic restrictions on international passengers reduced the number of imported cases, BNR reported.

Wuhan, the center of COVID-19, reported there were no new cases for the sixth consecutive day after the business resumed operations and residents began to lead a normal life after almost 2 months of quarantine.

In the meantime, the government wants businesses and factories to resume their work in order to reduce the economic damage from the epidemic.

98.6% of Chinese Production has Recovered

Industrial enterprises in China have managed to resume production to an average of 98.6%, said the Industry Deputy Secretary.

The utilization of production capacities in the industrial enterprises in the country has already reached 98.6%, and 89.9% of the employees have returned to their jobs, he said.

About 76% of the employed have returned to small and medium-sized enterprises, according to BGNES.

Enterprises in the automotive industry have resumed 97% of their production, but are currently facing low demand levels, the deputy minister said.

At the moment, the rates of resumption of production and operation of enterprises are relatively high, but due to insufficient market demand, the automotive industry is still experiencing difficulties. Stock availability will continue to increase, and this may later force some companies to reduce their productivity.

Authorities in China are trying to tackle this problem by implementing various measures and programs to stimulate consumer demand for automotive products.

In the Fight against Contagion: 40% of the World's Population is Quarantined

More than 40% of the world's population has been urged or forced to comply with the quarantine to combat the new coronavirus, according to estimates by the France Press.

According to the agency, 3 billion and 380 million people are forced to live in isolation in nearly 80 countries and territories.

More than 500 million people were quarantined by March 18, over 1 billion by March 23, over 2 billion by March 24, and over $ 3 billion by March 25.

Quarantine is mandatory for the majority of people - nearly 2 billion people in 42 countries and territories. In most cases, it is still possible for people to go out to go to work, or to buy food.

354 COVID-19 Infected in Bulgaria

The total number of coronavirus infected in Bulgaria is 354, said the head of the National Operations Headquarters, Professor Ventsislav Mutafchiiski.

So far, 15 people have been cured, 8 people have died, with an average age of the dead - 66 years.

The most infected are in Sofia, where 13 cases were registered in the last 24 hours.

So far there are 17 cases in Plovdiv, 12 in Burgas region, 12 in Blagoevgrad.

Weather Forecast: Maximum Temperatures between 17C and 22C

It will be mostly sunny today, with some cloudy skies in the afternoon.

Some scattered rain expected in the mountainous and eastern areas. There will be light to moderate wind from the west-northwest. Maximum temperatures between 17C and 22C.

This is the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) weather forecast.




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