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Coronavirus in Hungary: Two Iranian students expelled from the country for violating quarantine regulations

2020.03.13. 17:50

The National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing expelled two Iranian citizens studying in Hungary from the country and from the area of the European Union, Index learned from the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

As the Ministry informed, the two university students have left their assigned quarantine wards at the Szent László block of the Central Hospital of Southern Pest (DPC) without permission and without protective clothing. The Ministry wrote that the students refused to return to their hospital ward even after being repeatedly instructed to do so, vocally expressed their disdain, and were aggressive towards medical staff and disobeyed their directions.

The execution of the expulsion order was suspended until there will be "conditions necessary for the execution of the expulsion order," but in the meantime, the Iranian students will not be allowed to leave their prescribed place of residence. The two 23-year-old Iranian students were also banned from entering Hungary for the next three years, and the Budapest Police Department is still investigating them for the misdemeanour of disobeying epidemiological regulations.

Earlier, quarantined foreign students complained that they were held together with 2-5 other, potentially infected people, and they are not given proper information - they wanted to self-isolate in their homes. Two Iranian students first resisted going into quarantine, but police convinced them to take the ambulance to the DPC - authorities warned that disobeying quarantine orders is a crime. On Sunday, the government coronavirus task force announced that police presence was requested at the DPC for fears that "disorderly" Iranian students  "might hurt doctors or nurses,"  and the Chief Medical Officer said that this is the standard procedure for suspected patients all over the world. On Monday, the coronavirus task force informed that they were maintaining the police presence at the DPC as the quarantined students were still non-cooperative, reportedly throwing a chair from their ward.

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.

Click here to find all our English coverage about the coronavirus situation in Hungary.

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