COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
EU to begin certifying Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Europe
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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Nearly two-thirds of Bulgaria is now in the coronavirus (COVID-19) “red zone” due to the high number of new cases and there is no area where the spread of the disease has remained low, according to data from the country’s special team reported on October 29.
The situation in the country started worsening sharply in the past three weeks with the number of new cases peaking at nearly 2,800 within 24 hours on October 29.
In 18 of the 28 municipalities in Bulgaria the situation is causing concern as hospitals cannot treat more patients as they either lack beds or personnel.
Although the government has not imposed a curfew and pledges not to restrict movement of people, on October 29 the streets in the capital Sofia were unusually empty.
“I don’t know but today is a bizarre day – no traffic anywhere,” Georgi, 42, said.
Mariana, 45, says she feels unwilling to attend her usual cafe even though she does not want to restrict her contacts and is only moderately concerned about the situation.
On the other hand, she is extremely worried that her son, who has just started his first year at high school, is at home after the health ministry decided that all high schools and universities must switch to online classes for at least two weeks.
Many parents fear that their children’s schools will stay closed for months and are worried about the psychological consequences. Some of them say they do not plan to isolate their kids completely even if schools are forced to stay online.
“I plan to rent a house with a few other families so that our kids can play together. It is insane – to isolate young children! It is emotional genocide,” said one father who wished to remain anonymous.
While Bulgaria’s Education Minister Krassimir Valchev supports the view that schools, especially primary schools, should not be closed as this is best for the children, he has indicated that such a decision might be taken soon by the health authorities. Many parents also fear that children will not return to schools after the October 30-November 2 break.
While many people are worried as they do not trust the authorities can control the situation, conspiracy theories are also flourishing with some believing that the statistics are false and the situation is normal. Others say the situation is much worse than the authorities admit.
The number of top officials going into self-isolation due to contacts with people with coronavirus is rising.
On October 29, President Rumen Radev announced he is isolating himself as his secretary has a positive test for coronavirus, though the president says he is not ill at present. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov tested positive for the virus earlier this week. The tourism ministry will be closed for disinfection on October 30 as an employee has contracted the virus.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS) announced that the country will have its own coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year. However, it would need further financing from the state to begin trials on mice and people, according to Penka Petrova, head of the Institute of Microbiology of BAS, quoted by Dnevnik news outlet.
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