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Coronavirus: 15 new cases bring total to 73 in Hungary

HUS 9579
2020.03.19. 08:14

The Hungarian government's coronavirus website reported 15 new coronavirus cases in Hungary, which is the highest number of daily new cases since the virus appeared in the country. The total number of cases is now 73

All of the new patients are Hungarian nationals. The government releases no further information on the cases since Saturday.

On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller told reporters that the virus is already present everywhere in Hungary, it has entered into community transmission, and now all decisions have to serve "flattening the curve," keeping active case numbers manageable by slowing down new infections. Hungary has so far taken 2322 samples for testing.

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. This Wednesday, the Prime Minister announced an economic relief program which includes suspending all loan payments in the country until the end of the year. 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.

(Cover: A staff member sprays disinfectant inside a train amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Budapest. Photo: István Huszti / Index)

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