Policy responses for Bulgaria - HSRM


Policy responses for Bulgaria

1.3 Isolation and quarantine

Initially, mandatory 14-days isolation in an infectious diseases ward was introduced for symptomatic people returning from high-risk areas, including China and Italy. Passengers without symptoms had to stay at home for two weeks under the surveillance of a GP. Contact persons have been monitored, as well.

On March 17, the MoH ordered compulsory self-isolation for 14 days of passengers from pandemic countries and of individuals who have been in contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases. On April 6, isolation measures were extended to all persons returning from international travel. The contact persons are traced by Regional Health Inspectorates (RHIs). Individuals under quarantine have to declare the place of self-isolation. GPs or RHIs (for people without a GP) provide consultations and medical surveillance during the quarantine period. RHIs maintain lists of all individuals under quarantine in the respective district and are obliged to provide immediate information to GPs, majors and regional police directorates. The latter supervise adherence to the imposed restrictions. Any violation of quarantine is fined with BGN 5,000 (EUR 2,556).

On March 27, the compulsory self-isolation of confirmed cases was extended to 28 days after a positive test (in case of home treatment) or after hospital discharge.

Designed facilities for isolation of confirmed cases and treatment of moderate cases are being prepared in the capital and several cities in case of wider spread of epidemic but have not been used yet.

As of June 2, the 14-day quarantine upon entering Bulgaria is lifted for citizens of EU member states and Schengen Agreement countries except for eight countries with high infectious rates (UK, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Malta, Ireland, Portugal and Belgium). The nationals of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are allowed to enter the country without quarantine, as well. Epidemiological control is still in force at the borders, and travellers entering the country will have to fill out declarations for adherence to all anti-epidemic measures.

Arrivals from other countries of the third category will continue to be placed under a 14-day quarantine. As of June 15, the 14-day quarantine upon entering Bulgaria is lifted for citizens of Spain, Italy, Malta and Ireland. The directors of the Regional Health Inspectorates have to revoke the quarantine prescribed for arrivals from these countries between June 2 and June 14. The requirement for 14-day quarantine remains in force for all arrivals from the UK, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, as well as from all countries of the third category except for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. According to the Minister of Health, Bulgaria can open the borders for these countries after June 30.

Another ministerial order shortens the mandatory home isolation for coronavirus patients after hospital discharge from 28 to 14 days. The isolation may be revoked after 14 days and upon one negative PCR test.

In October, some changes concerning the isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 positive patients and contact persons were introduced. The home isolation of positively tested patients who are asymptomatic, with mild symptoms or after hospital discharge is automatically terminated after 14 days; a negative PCR-test is no longer required. As of October 22, the quarantine for contact persons is reduced from 14 to 10 days in case of absence of clinical symptoms.

An amendment to the Health Act allows the RHIs to notify persons who must be placed under mandatory quarantine by phone or e-mail.

Sources and links:
Ministry of Health; https://www.mh.government.bg/bg/