Coronavirus: Austria closes several border crossings to Hungary
Due to the global coronavirus outbreak, Austria closed several border crossings to Hungary by Friday morning, Hungarian state newswire MTI reported based on information from Austrian news agency APA.
The border crossings that remain open to international traffic:
- Hegyeshalom-Miklóshalom (Nickelsdorf)
- Sopron-Kelénpatak (Klingenbach)
- Rábafüzes-Rábakeresztúr (Heiligenkreuz)
- Szentgotthárd-Gyanafalve (Jennersdorf) for railway traffic.
Hungarian and Austrian citizens will still be allowed to cross the border at the following points:
- Fertőd-Pomogy (Pamhagen),
- Kópháza-Sopronkeresztúr (Deutschkreutz),
- Köszeg-Rőtfalva (Rattersdorf),
- Bucs-Csajta (Schachendorf)
- Szentpéterfa-Monyókerék (Eberau).
All other crossing points on the border between Hungary and Austria are closed towards Hungary until further notice.
Earlier, Hungary has temporarily reinstated checks on its Austrian and Slovenian borders and banned entry for foreign nationals arriving from Italy, China, South Korea, and Iran, while Hungarians arriving from these countries will be ordered to spend two weeks in quarantine in their homes. Quarantine orders can be enforced by the police.
The coronavirus situation in Hungary
According to the latest update (10:05 AM) of the government coronavirus website,
IN HUNGARY, 19 PEOPLE WERE INFECTED, 1 RECOVERED, 79 ARE IN QUARANTINE, AND 858 SAMPLES WERE TAKEN FOR TESTING.
Confirmed cases in Hungary until now:
- 4 March - Coronavirus first appeared in Hungary; two Iranian students tested positive after returning from their home country at the end of February, several contacts of one later tested positive as well.
- 5 March - 69-year-old British man living in Hungary tested positive after returning from Milan on 29 February. His wife and another woman in contact with the man later tested positive.
- 7 March - A 70-year-old Hungarian man was diagnosed with the virus, initial official information suggested his son infected him, this was later denied. His wife also tested positive two days later.
- Another Iranian student, a Hungarian woman quarantined in the Szent János hospital, and a Hungarian man who recently returned from Israel tested positive on Thursday.
- On Friday, three more Hungarian men also tested positive for the disease, bringing the total number of cases to nineteen.
- According to the latest official information (Thursday), one of the patients (an Iranian student) has already recovered, all of the others are in a satisfactory condition except for the 70-year-old Hungarian man treated at the ICU, but as János Szlávik informed the Chief Medical Officer, he seems to be getting better as well.
Hungary declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and reintroduced border checks on the Austrian and Slovenian border, banned entry into Hungary from Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea, shut down universities, and banned all large public events.
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. The Hungarian Medical Chamber complained that the government does not provide doctors with sufficient protective gear. On Thursday, it was found that doctors wore no protective gear as they treated an undiagnosed coronavirus patient for days at the Szent János Hospital in Budapest. Earlier, she was denied testing as the DPC ruled out COVID-19 upon initial questioning.
During his interview on public radio on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said "foreigners dragged this disease into the country," and previously, he told European leaders during a teleconference that "there is an obvious link between the coronavirus and illegal immigration." Earlier, the government suspended access to the transit zones on the southern border where asylum-seekers could apply for refugee status.
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 photo: Csaba Krizsán / MTI)
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