Sofia on full lockdown as of 12 AM on April 17 "until further notice"

Sofia on full lockdown as of 12 AM on April 17 "until further notice"

The coronavirus crisis response team held a special briefing late last night to announce the exits of the capital Sofia will close "until further notice." No one can go in or out of the city less than an hour after the announcement: the preconference began after 11 PM, the measure would come into force at 12 AM.

"We’ve been observing something very alarming – mass travels outward from Sofia, which is the largest coronavirus hotspot. Those who have left have scattered across the country, which makes for a severe epidemiological situation. The consequences of this will become clear in a week," the head of the crisis team, General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski said during the briefing.

The only vehicles allowed in and out of Sofia, Health Minister Kiril Ananniev said, are freight transport, ambulances and the like. Vehicles carrying medical staff, going to or from work will also be allowed through.

The lockdown includes all public bus transport as well.

The national railway will also cease all trains. The BDŽ has shut down 39 routes from April 17 until April 20 to prevent travel for the Easter holidays. The railways announced the measure during the day April 16, before the lockdown of Sofia.

Meanwhile the COVID-19 cases rose by 42 over the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases reached 825, the deaths are 40. Bulgaria is seeing a spike in cases over the past several days, which the coronavirus crisis response team attribute to good weather and Palm Sunday (last week), which led many to ignore urges to stay home.

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