Sofia, Aug 12 (IANS): Bulgarian authorities have largely phased out a regulation requiring people to wear protective face masks, despite having the lowest rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in the European Union.
The step by the authorities in Sofia came just a week after the requirement had been imposed, in a bid to check the spread of Covid-19, dpa news agency reported.
Under the latest rules, people in Bulgaria must only wear masks in hospitals, pharmacies, social institutions and when on public transport.
No mask is required for shoppers in supermarkets and stores.
The regulation was altered despite the fact that less than a third of the population of around 6.5 million inhabitants is vaccinated against the virus.
The regulations apply nationwide, even though case numbers are far higher in Sofia than in the rest of the country.
The authorities explained that Thursday's move was due to the fact that hospitals had sufficient capacity.
Bulgaria's seven-day incidence rate of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants is currently around 138.
The health authorities recently recorded 1,429 new infections within 24 hours, although the true number of cases is widely thought to be significantly higher.