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Coronavirus in Hungary: Viktor Orbán has announced something

2020.03.18. 15:34

Ne maradjon le semmiről!

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This is a breaking news story, we are continuously updating our article as we learn more.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was scheduled to make an extraordinary announcement about the coronavirus at 3:00 PM on Wednesday in a Facebook video message, but there was no sound on the live stream. The government is yet to provide any information on what the Prime Minister had said more than half an hour ago.

Update at 4:00 PM: The video was reuploaded to Facebook with sound shortly before 4:00 PM, the PM announced a number of economic measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in Hungary.

Except for an appearance in the Parliament, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made all big announcements concerning the coronavirus over Facebook, even though the Hungarian public media has a yearly budget of around €250 million.

Most were expecting the announcement of a lockdown, as several other European countries have taken similar decisions in recent days; Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, and most recently, Belgium have all implemented restrictions on people leaving their homes. In an open letter on Sunday, the Hungarian Medical Chamber suggested the government to also take that step in order to avoid a boom in case numbers - back then, government official Zoltán Kovács said that this was a political stunt. But right now, nobody has any idea what the extraordinary announcement was, and the silent video has since been removed from the Prime Minister's Facebook page.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Hungary was diagnosed on 4 March, a week and 12 more confirmed cases later, the government declared a state of emergency, and introduced a number of restrictive measures to slow the spread of the virus since then, including amongst others a general entry ban for non-citizens, closing schools, banning events, closing entertainment venues, restricting opening hours of non-essential shops. 

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