Happy Friday! Although the number of new Covid infections remains high and daily deaths topped 150 every day this past week, there will be no further restrictions or a lockdown. This was announced by Health Minister Stoycho Katsarov during a bTV interview earlier today. The Minister claims that people have started heeding restrictions and that this, in turn, has led to a stabilization of new infections. So no new measures will be taken. At the same time, mortality rates in hospital intensive care units nationwide remain around 90 percent.
30 million euro for Hemus Highway have disappeared "in suitcases": Boyko RashkovAccording to the caretaker Minister of the Interior, more than 30 million euro dedicated for Lot 5 of Hemus Highway have disappeared abroad through dummy companies, and individuals absconded with money in "bags and suitcases".
Mr Rashkov spoke at a press conference on Friday, where he described the alleged scheme and how the state-owned Avtomagistrali company had been drained by dummy construction firms through in-house contracts.
Fourteen people from both phoney and active infrastructure companies have been arrested since the launch of the money laundering investigation on Wednesday. The money has been allocated by the state-owned firm in advance, for sections of the highway that still have no construction permit.
Internal Ministry cracks down on voter-buying schemes in Burgas, Ihtiman, Vidin
With just over a week to go before the 2 in 1 vote next Sunday, the State Police said that it has been arresting suspects linked to vote-buying schemes in several Bulgarian towns. All of the suspects have been caught with personal identification cards belonging to dozens of other people - many of whom are indebted to the suspects, as well as notebooks with various names and sums "dedicated" to all of them. This is the second round of the police anti-vote-buying operation this week. On Thursday, the husband and son of the mayor of Simeonovgrad were arrested on account of similar allegations.
27 percent of Bulgarians unable to adequately heat their home: Eurostat
Bulgaria tops another negative ranking in the EU - for the largest share of the population that is unable to heat their home adequately - 27 percent. Other countries in the negative ranking are Lithuania (23 percent), Cyprus (21 percent) and Portugal and Greece (17 percent), while the average rate for the EU as a whole is only 8 percent.
Yet Bulgaria has notched a slight improvement compared to 2019, when 30 percent of people reported being unable to properly heat their homes. And this is a massive improvement compared to only 11 years ago, when two thirds of the population had the same grievance.