Automotive manufacturers halt production in Hungary over coronavirus
All four major carmakers present in Hungary have decided to temporarily suspend all production in the country over coronavirus concerns as the total number of cases in Hungary rose to 58 by Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Audi announced that along with the plants in Ingolstadt, Brussels, and Mexico, production will be suspended at the Győr factory of the German carmaker as well, in line with the decision made earlier by the Volkswagen Group to halt production at all of their factories in Europe. Production in Győr will stop next Monday, Audi promised to inform about the eventual reopening and workers' compensation in a future press release.
The Opel factory in Szentgotthárd also shuts down production next Monday, as the company employing 850 people in Hungary confirmed to online car magazine Totalcar on Monday.
On Wednesday, Suzuki informed that their factory in Esztergom will also suspend production from next Monday until 3 April. This decision affects 3200 employees.
Daimler also decided to close their plants all over Europe, so assembly lines will stop at the Kecskemét Mercedes factory as well for two weeks initially, but the temporary closure will be extended if the situation does not improve until then. The 4000 employees will not be left without pay, the factory informed.
The coronavirus situation in Hungary
Hungary closed borders to all foreigners except for residence permit-holding EEA citizens and spouses and parents of Hungarian citizens on Monday after declaring a state of emergency last Wednesday. As of Monday morning, universities and schools are closed, education will continue remotely. All events are banned, cafes, restaurants, non-essential stores have to close at 3:00 PM each day (pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, tobacco stores, and gas stations can remain open longer). Hospitals in Hungary no longer accept visitors since last Sunday, doctors, medical staff, and public officials require special permits to travel abroad. Last Monday, the government has allocated more than 8 billion Forints (~€24 million) for the coronavirus response.
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 last Thursday.
Click here to find all our English coverage about the coronavirus situation in Hungary.
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