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Bulgarian PM fined for visiting monastery without mask

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FILE PHOTO: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov gestures as he arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause Reuters

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will be fined for not wearing a mask while visiting a monastery Tuesday, even as his government reimposed anti-coronavirus measures following a surge in cases.

Television footage and pictures the premier published on Facebook showed him touring Rila monastery in southwestern Bulgaria — without a mask.

The visit came on the day the health ministry reimposed the compulsory wearing of face masks in all closed public areas.

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Borisov, members of his entourage and journalists who did not wear masks will be fined 300 leva (150 euros, 170 dollars), the health ministry announced later Tuesday.

Borisov’s conservative GERB party and the main opposition left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party have already been fined 3,000 leva each for breaching a ban on mass gatherings during party meetings over the weekend.

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Bulgaria has so far been among the countries least affected by the novel coronavirus.

But it witnessed a surge in infections since it scrapped the requirement to wear masks two weeks ago, having earlier allowing restaurants, theatres, cinemas and sports venues to reopen.

On Tuesday, the number of coronavirus cases in this EU member of seven million people was 3,984, including 207 deaths — compared to 2,889 cases and 167 deaths, just two weeks ago.

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