SOFIA -- Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has left an official trip to Estonia and faces quarantine at home after it was determined he was recently exposed to the coronavirus.
Radev, who was in Estonia to attend an investment forum, cut his trip short and returned to Bulgaria on October 20. Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said the same day that Radev had been in contact on October 16 with a Bulgarian military official who had tested positive for the virus. Angelov said that Radev would be placed under quarantine in keeping with the country's health regulations. Upon Radev's arrival at Sofia airport, he refuted comments made on Facebook by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid that he and his delegation had been placed under quarantine at a Tallin hotel. "Contrary to speculation, neither I, nor any of my delegation, nor the journalists who accompanied me, were quarantined in Estonia," Radev said. "I am in great shape," he added. Radev, whose role as president is largely ceremonial, said he last tested negative for the coronavirus on October 19.
Bulgaria, which has been struggling with a rise in coronavirus cases, has registered more than 30,500 infections and over 1,000 related deaths.
The outbreak led Health Minister Kostadin Angelov to announce that, as of October 22, the wearing of masks in open spaces will once again be mandatory. Angelov said following consultations with infectious disease experts that "this is the easiest possible measure" and expressed the hope that the number of infections could fall by as much as one third as a result. Bulgaria's first effort to impose the mandatory wearing of masks, introduced in late March, lasted only a day, before it was temporarily reintroduced in April.