Least-Vaccinated EU State Tightens Covid Measures as Deaths Jump

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Bulgaria, the European Union’s least-vaccinated member state, will tighten restrictions on some service sectors in a bid to slow a wave of hospitalizations and deaths caused by Covid-19’s delta variant.

While the EU as a whole met a target to fully inoculate 70% of its adult population, the eastern European country ranks last, with long-standing distrust in institutions and doubts over the safety of jabs meaning just 20% have had their shots.

The government is even looking to sell or donate unwanted doses before they expire.

Bulgaria will close nightclubs and limit capacity and working hours at bars and restaurants from Sept. 7-Sept. 30. Gyms, movie theaters and concert halls will also face curbs, though schools will remain open for now.

“The low percentage of vaccination in our country is forcing us to introduce these measures to limit the consequences for the whole population,” Health Minister Stoycho Katsarov said Thursday.

Deaths in the EU’s poorest nation rose to 256 last week -- the highest since May, while hospitalizations are also at the most since that month.

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