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Hungarian stages of Giro d'Italia cancelled because of coronavirus, along with a number of other events

000 1LP4RX
2020.03.13. 15:24

The three Hungarian stages of cycling race Giro d'Italia will not take place in May 2020 because of the severe coronavirus situation, government commissioner Máriusz Révész announced on Friday.

Révész writest that after multiple consultations with the Italian party, the Hungarian partners told organiser RCS Racing that the sports event cannot put the health of the Hungarian population at risk. The race was scheduled to start on 9 May in Budapest.

Earlier, Mauro Vegni, the head of RCS Sports said that they will follow the recommendations of the Italian government and authorities - he told Tuttobici later that as all professional sports in Italy were halted until 3 April, but "everything is to be reviewed," but did not rule out holding the Giro at a later date. A few days ago, the President of the Union Cycliste Internationale David Lappartient said that cancelling the Giro and the Tour would be a "disaster" for cycling.

The Giro is not the only event to be cancelled in Hungary because of the coronavirus. The Hungarian government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and banned all indoor events with more than a hundred people and all outdoor events with more than 500 people, affecting several concerts, theatre shows, and almost all other events set to take place in upcoming weeks such as the ATP Hungarian Open, the Fed Cup Finals, the Budapest Spring Festival, concerts of Carlos Santana, James Blunt, Parkway Drive, or John Cleese's comedy show "Last time to see me before I die."  

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 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.

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: AFP / Marco Bertorello

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