Amid rising Omicron infection rates, Bulgarian authorities have again warned that travelers from Member States and the UK who are in the red category must present their vaccination or recovery certificate , in addition to a negative PCR test result, taken within 72 hours of departure to enter Bulgaria, reports

“The persons referred to in point 4.3. are allowed in the territory of the country upon presentation of a valid EU digital COVID certificate for vaccination or recovery or similar document, together with a negative result of a test carried out up to 72 hours before the entry into the country examination by the polymerase chain reaction method for COVID-19”, the press release issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Health explains, with point 4.3. including citizens of the European Union, United Kingdom and their family members.

The same further notes that Bulgarian citizens or permanent residents are required to present one of the required health certificates (vaccination, recovery or PCR test) in order to be allowed into their country of origin or residence. If they do not present this document, they must undergo a ten-day quarantine – with the possibility of reducing the isolation time if the PCR test carried out three days after arrival is negative.

Unlike several EU member states which have abolished their color coding systems, the Bulgarian government continues to enforce the practice, and from January 20, when this order comes into effect until March 31, arrivals of the red zone are required to present a vaccine, recovery, or test certificate, in order to enter the country. The negative test result must be a PCR test performed within three days of departure.

Countries listed in Bulgaria’s red category include:

EU member states: (except for Vatican City and Romania), United Kingdom, Greenland, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Georgia, Faroe Islands

Asia: Mongolia, North Korea, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Brunei, Jordan, Bangladesh

Africa: Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Zambia, Cape Verde

South America: Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Chile, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Saint Eustatius, Saba, Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, Suriname, Brazil, Saint Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Argentina,

North America: United States of America, Curacao, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bermuda, Canada, British Virgin Islands,

Oceania: Fiji and Australia

Additionally, the countries in the green zone currently are Vatican City and Romania, which means that arrivals from these two countries can enter Bulgaria by presenting only one of the documents mentioned above. The same rule applies to arrivals from the orange category, which includes countries that are not on any of the previous lists.

At present, Bulgaria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU – around 41% behind the average full vaccination coverage in EU member state populations, which means that only 28.4% of the seven million inhabitants are fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates reflect the number of positive cases in the country, as according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 43,426 cases of infection and 575 deaths were recorded last week.