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05 June 2020 – Bulgaria

Lyubimetz Detention Center - Bulgaria, (,
Lyubimetz Detention Center - Bulgaria, (, "Lyubimets Detention Centre (Special Home for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners (SHAF))",

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior reported that the country has not established a moratorium on new detention orders and that the measure is not being contemplated. The Ministry also explained that no immigration detainees have been released from “special homes for temporary accommodation of foreigners (closed detention centres) managed by the Migration Directorate with the Ministry of Interior” due to the Covid-19 crisis. According to the Ministry, alternative measures to detention are applied under the provisions of the Law on Foreigners and in consequence are not related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Regarding the measures taken to protect immigration detainees, the Ministry said that:

– Detained migrants are tested for Covid-19 only if they have symptoms of infection;
– Special anti-epidemic measures have been introduced in the special homes for temporary accommodation (SHTAFs) to prevent the spread of Covid-19;
– All newly arrived foreigners are examined by the medical personnel on duty from the Medical Service of the SHTAF-Sofia by measuring body temperature with a thermometer and by taking an epidemiological history. A questionnaire is filled in according to a template provided by the Medical Institute of the Ministry of Interior;
– All newly accommodated foreigners are quarantined for 14 days in premises specifically determined for this purpose, separately from other accommodated persons;
– Social distancing measures have been implemented by separating newly accommodated non-citizens from all other third-country nationals in specifically determined premises for a period of 14 days. Also, those placed in quarantine do not mix with other detainees during meals, outdoor walks and personal time. Following the declaration of the state of emergency and the special anti-epidemic measures in the country, organised group activities have been suspended; and
– As a temporary measure, a visitation ban has been introduced for relatives and acquaintances. Lawyers, human rights organisation representatives and officers of other structures of the Ministry of the Interior may still meet detainees. However, these meetings are held in compliance with the relevant anti-epidemic measures for personal protection.

The Ministry of Interior of Bulgaria stated that for the time being, there have not been any cases of Covid-19 amongst the immigration detainee population detained in SHTAFs.