The situation in some regions is becoming extremely serious, said Health Minister Kostadin Angelov during the health authorities' Thursday morning press conference. There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus mortality - over 50% on a weekly basis, and the rate of spread of the infection is close to November's levels. For more on the latest COVID-19 developments in Bulgaria, read today's overview here.
The central bank warns of risks for the budget
The government's mid-term budget outlook may not materialize, warns the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) in its latest Economic Review. The central bank advised that if the pandemic worsens, a less favorable macroeconomic scenario than envisaged in the MF forecast could emerge, which would hinder the projected tax revenue performance. This could lead to a sharper rise in the country's debt burden. Additional risks to the budget forecast arise from the significant increase in permanent budget expenditure (like wages and pensions), which are hard to reverse in the event of less favorable economic development and would limit opportunities for budgetary consolidation, warns the BNB.
The government's job retention scheme will be extended
The state-sponsored job retention scheme - so-called 60/40, will likely be extended until May 31. The social partners - state, business, and trade unions, will discuss the extension on Monday when the next meeting of the Tripartite Cooperation Council takes place. According to the latest data from the National Social Security Institute (as of 02.02), the amount paid out tops 870 million levs (445 million euro), received by 12,000 employers for over 265 000 employees.
Applications for voting from abroad in the coming elections near 88,000
The number of applications submitted for the opening of voting sections abroad for the parliamentary elections on April 4 is 87,997, the Central Election Commission announced today. Most of them are in Turkey - 20,890, Great Britain - 16,384, and Germany - 13,649. The Central Election Commission will determine the venues for voting abroad by Saturday. The number of sections opened abroad will be the highest since 2013, Central Election Commission spokesman Dimitar Dimitrov announced today. For comparison, in the 2017 parliamentary elections, there were 371 polling stations abroad and 117,668 voters. In 2014 there were 428 sections and in 2013 - 224.