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Coronavirus: Hungary reports first fatality as case number rises to 32

AJO 0463
2020.03.15. 14:42

A 75-year old Hungarian man has died of the coronavirus in Hungary, the government's coronavirus website reported. This is the first coronavirus-related death in the country. 

The website informs that the man was taken to the Central Hospital of Southern Pest with pneumonia and suspected Covid-19 infection and he died on arrival.

The number of confirmed patients in Hungary rose to 32 after 11 people tested positive on Saturday and two more on Sunday. The Hungarian government's coronavirus stopped releasing patients' details on a case-by-case basis, all we know about the thirteen cases confirmed since Friday is that they are all Hungarian citizens, and according to Saturday's second announcement informing about five cases, "some of the newly diagnosed patients had been to Italy, there is a patient who was presumably infected by a relative returning from Austria, and there is a patient that was already an identified contact of a known case." Contact tracing of all new cases has commenced.

The coronavirus situation in Hungary

According to the latest update (2:20 PM) of the government coronavirus website,

IN HUNGARY, 32 PEOPLE WERE INFECTED, 1 RECOVERED, 1 died, 159 ARE IN QUARANTINE, AND 1236 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.
  • 11 new cases were announced on Saturday and two more on Sunday morning, but officials stopped releasing information on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and reintroduced border checks on the Austrian and Slovenian border, banned entry from Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea. The entry ban was extended to Israel on FridayUniversities and schools are closed before students, education will continue remotely. All indoor events above 100 people and outdoor events above 500 are banned. Hospitals in Hungary no longer accept visitors as last Sunday, 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 equipment. 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.

(Cover: Central Hospital of Southern Pest. Photo: Orsi Ajpek / Index)

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