Bulgarian travelers take PCR tests in Edirne

Bulgarian travelers take PCR tests in Edirne

Bulgarian travelers take PCR tests in Edirne

Bulgarians, who visit the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne mostly for shopping, take their PCR tests in the city before heading back to their country.

These tests cost around 100 Bulgarian lev, or some 600 to 700 Turkish Liras in Bulgaria, but health facilities in Turkey charge only 170 liras.

“We have been seeing strong interest from Bulgarian citizens for the PCR tests after Jan. 20, because they are cheaper here,” said Bülent Hamza, the chief physician at a local private hospital.

Bulgarians have been flocking to the city for shopping purposes or holidays over the past couple of months. However, the Bulgarian government recently made it necessary for its citizens abroad to provide a valid PCR test upon their arrival. In the wake of the PCR requirement, the number of Bulgarians visiting Edirne has declined.

The vaccination rate against COVID-19 in Bulgaria is around 27 percent.

Local authorities are optimistic that the relatively cheaper PCR tests offered in Edirne may lure more visitors from the neighboring country once again.

The test results come out in one and a half hours and the test are very reliable, said Hamza, noting that it might take up to 10 hours in health institutions to return the test results.

Bulgarian citizens first do their shopping, then stop by PCR test centers in Edirne before heading back to their county.

“The tests are expensive in Bulgaria. I have received four shots [against COVID-19], but the Bulgarian authorities still demand a PCR test to enter the country. That’s why I am taking the test here,” said Emin Tunca, who traveled from Bulgaria to Edirne.