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Hungary goes into lockdown against coronavirus

2020.03.27. 08:28

This is a breaking news story, our article is being updated.

The Hungarian government issued a lockdown for two weeks, starting on Saturday. Between 28 March and 11 April, people in Hungary will only be allowed to leave their homes for "substantial reasons," 

though the list of these exceptions is rather extensive, ranging from grocery shopping to manicures.

The stay-at-home order was announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during his interview given to Hungarian public media on Friday. The government decree is already out.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, markets, and drugstores will remain open, 

but people above 65 will only be allowed to visit these places between 9:00 AM and noon, while others will be banned from entering during this time.

In public places, a compulsory 1.5-metre distance must be kept from others.

"The restrictions introduced so far were effective," Viktor Orbán told public radio, adding that Hungarians were disciplined and they reduced the number of social contacts to a tenth of what it was before. Orbán said that this is expressly not a lockdown when "not even a fly is allowed to leave the house."

The decree states that all shall minimize the number of social contacts they make to the absolute minimum, and keep a 1.5-metre distance from others in public, even on public transportation. Only employees are allowed to be in restaurants and other places of hospitality services - food delivery and takeout orders are still possible. Leaving home ("place of residence or stay, private residence") is allowed for the following purposes:

  • Work,
  • Taking children to daycare (as parents who cannot stay at home with their children can still leave them at schools and kindergartens where they are watched over in small groups),
  • Fulfilling medical needs,
  • Individual sports activities and recreational walks,
  • Weddings and funerals,
  • Shopping for groceries, medication, pet food, drugstore items, tobacco, and fuel,
  • Administrative procedures that require personal presence,
  • Walking pets and caring for animals,
  • Fulfilling parental rights and obligations,
  • Participating in religious activities,
  • Having haircuts and manicures,
  • Using cleaning and hygienic services,
  • Car and bicycle repair services, 
  • Veterinary services,
  • Postal, shipping, banking, financial, and insurance services,
  • Providing assistance to those who are unable to take care of themselves.

Police will be enforcing these restrictions with the involvement of military police and other law enforcement agencies. 

Violating these restrictions is punishable with a fine of up to 500,000 Forints (~€1400).

For all of our English articles on the epidemiological situation in Hungary, see our file here:

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