Fact Check: The Bulgarian Government Is NOT Going To Impose COVID-19 Restrictions For Unvaccinated Citizens After Local Elections

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: The Bulgarian Government Is NOT Going To Impose COVID-19 Restrictions For Unvaccinated Citizens After Local Elections No Such Plans

Is it true that Prime Minister Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister Maria Gabriel are planning to impose new COVID-19 measures and travel bans on public transportation for people who are not vaccinated after the local elections in Bulgaria? No, that's not true: On October 10, 2023, the Prime Minister refuted this claim personally in an interview, stating that there is no reason to change health safety rules and impose any restrictions for the time being.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here) published on October 25, 2023, with the following caption, translated from Bulgarian to English by Lead Stories staff:

Denkov and Gabriel are planning a travel ban on trains and public transportation if you don't have a Pfizer or Zeneca QR code! This comes immediately after the local elections. Are you still sleeping, Bulgarian heroes? Sleep on, that's all you do.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-28 215050.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Oct 28 18:50:52 2023 UTC)

Numerous publications on social media in Bulgaria have been sharing the false claim that a new pandemic is coming and a lockdown will be imposed again right after the local elections on Oct 29, 2023. Here is another example of the shared false claim published on October 26, 2023, with the following caption:

From today all people should be wearing muzzles in hospitals. For now, the sheep are obeying. After the elections, it will get even better.

Screenshot 2023-10-28 220607.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Oct 28 19:06:10 2023 UTC)

In an interview, the Prime Minister personally rejected this claim, affirming that there is no justification for altering health safety regulations or implementing any restrictions.

At the time of writing, there is no COVID-19 wave in Bulgaria. The situation is well-defined by the National Operational Plan for addressing the COVID-19 situation in Bulgaria, which outlines the specific measures and the five stages (0-5) of transmission. All regions in Bulgaria are in Stage 0, indicating a low level of COVID-19 spread, and no need for additional measures are necessary. COVID-19 vaccination in Bulgaria is recommended, not mandatory.

Based on Bulgaria's COVID-19 information portal, the map of the epidemic status on October 28, 2023, reveals that all regions in Bulgaria have reached their lowest level.

Screenshot 2023-10-28 221141.png

(Source: Coronavirus.bg screenshot taken on Sat Oct 28 19:11:43 2023 UTC)

On October 10, 2023, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov addressed questions from the public, which included a query about "anticipated COVID-19 measures and restrictions coming into effect in a month." During the interview, at the 00:34:25 timestamp, translated from Bulgarian into English by Lead Stories staff, he stated the following:

All kind of false claims have been shared on social media. My appeal to everyone is to listen, watch and read what the authorities say. We are the ones who make and announce the decisions. There is currently no reason to change the health safety rules. We are in the lowest zone, the so-called zero zone. There is no reason to look for development in another direction. If something is required, it will only be associated with an overload of the health care system. This is how we changed the rules last year. There are no such indications, so I urge people not to fall for rumors and attempts to instill fear and anger. This is constantly being done on social media.

Article 29, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria says that: "No one can be subjected to medical, scientific or other experiments without his voluntary written consent." The COVID-19 vaccination in Bulgaria is recommended, not mandatory. Therefore, legal experts have claimed that the refusal to vaccinate cannot deprive the constitutionally accepted rights of movement or employment of its citizens.

You can discover more Lead Stories fact-checks addressing claims concerning vaccines by visiting this link.

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