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Coronavirus in Hungary: Three more people tested positive, case number is 16

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2020.03.12. 11:11

Three more people tested positive for the coronavirus in Hungary, the government's official coronavirus website informed on Thursday. The number of total cases in Hungary as of now is 16.

Two of the newly confirmed patients were already in isolation. One of them is a Hungarian woman who was quarantined at the Szent János Hospital and the other is an Iranian student who was taken to the Central Hospital of Southern Pest as a contact of the first Iranian patient diagnosed last Wednesday.

The third newly confirmed case is not known to have contacted any of the previously confirmed coronavirus patients, but he recently returned from a trip to Israel.

Earlier, several readers informed Index that multiple floors of the Budapest office building Haller Gardens were evacuated on Thursday as an employee of the telecommunications company UPC tested positive for the coronavirus.

János Suba, UPC's communications director confirmed this to Index:

An employee of UPC Hungary reported feeling ill after returning from a private trip abroad. Medical examination confirmed the presence of the coronavirus in the employee's system. UPC is constantly consulting the authorities and has taken every necessary measure and precaution to ensure the safety of its employees.

Index's information suggests that the infected employee travelled to a country outside of Europe that is not severely affected by the virus (which official information says is Israel, provided this is the same case that was announced today). Upon returning, he went to work, but fell ill a couple of days later and was sent home from the office. That is when the patient contacted their general practitioner who sent him to get tested - the positive result was supposedly confirmed last night.

Index learned that UPC has ordered all employees who could have contacted their infected colleague to work from home. In the coming days, the three affected floors of the building will be decontaminated.

Authorities have immediately begun tracing the contacts of the new patients, the government's coronavirus website stated.

The coronavirus situation in Hungary

According to the latest update (10:40 AM) of the government coronavirus website,


Confirmed cases in Hungary until now:

  • Hungary announced the first two cases in the country on Wednesday, two Iranian university students studying in Budapest and Gödöllő were infected on their (independent) trips to Iran.
  • Two more confirmed cases were announced on Thursday, one is a 69-year-old British man living in Debrecen who returned from Milan by plane last Friday, the other is the girlfriend of one of the Iranian students.
  • fifth case was announced on Saturday morning, a 70-year-old Hungarian man in poor health tested positive. The sixth patient is the wife of the British patient diagnosed on Thursday. 
  • The seventh person to test positive was another Iranian student who attended a birthday party with one of the first two confirmed coronavirus patients.
  • Two more cases were announced on Monday morning - a former Iranian student of Semmelweis University and the wife of the 70-year-old Hungarian man diagnosed on Saturday.
  • Three other Iranian students of the Semmelweis University tested positive on Tuesday.
  • thirteenth case was announced on Wednesday morning, a Hungarian woman already quarantined as a contact of the British patient.

Hungary declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and introduced border checks, travel restrictions concerning Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea, and all large public events are cancelled.

Hospitals in Hungary no longer accept visitors as of Sunday, schools are advised to postpone class trips, doctors and medical staff are requested not to travel abroad. On Monday, the government has allocated more than 8 billion Forints (~€24 million) for the coronavirus response.

On Friday, Hungary suspended issuing Visas to citizens of Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to deny entry into the country for Iranian citizens with valid visas as well - this does not affect those who are already in Hungary. 
Earlier, the government suspended access to the transit zones on the southern border where asylum-seekers could apply for refugee status.

On Saturday, the Hungarian government cancelled their main event on the March 15th national holiday. The City of Budapest and the opposition parties soon followed suit. 

The first Hungarian citizen to contract Covid-19 was a man who worked on the cruise ship Diamond Princess was confirmed to have the disease at the end of February and was treated in Japan. He reportedly recovered, testing negative on Thursday.

Cover: The Haller Gardens office building in Budapest

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