More than 2000 registered coronavirus cases in Hungary, death toll is above 200
As of Tuesday morning, there have been 2098 registered cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, 287 have recovered and 213 people have died of the disease, according to the Hungarian government's coronavirus website.
There are 1598 active cases, 842 patients are hospitalised and 82 of them are on ventilators. In preparation for the stage of mass infections, hospitals are freeing up capacities nationwide, the website notes, adding that there are much more people carrying the virus than there are registered cases. There are 11 172 people currently in compulsory home quarantine and 50 052 samples were taken for testing since the virus spread to Hungary at the beginning of March - though it is unclear from how many people.
The infection map clearly shows that the situation in Budapest is getting more severe; 1082 cases have been registered so far in the capital, which is 51.57% of the total, there are 60 cases for each 100 000 inhabitants.
There have been 19 retirement homes affected by the virus, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said at Monday's press conference of the government's coronavirus task force. Eight of these are in Budapest, but there were cases in Győr, Tököl, Sződliget, Dabas, and several other towns as well. The Pesti Út Retirement Home in Budapest's district XVII was hit the hardest, out of the 267 residents and 40 employees, 223 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 23 residents have died.
On Tuesday morning, Hungarian Red Cross confirmed to HVG that coronavirus had appeared in a district XIII homeless shelter as well, 23 of the residents have tested positive during a pre-screening at the institution on Madridi road, nine of whom were confirmed by official testing as well. The rest were isolated within the shelter and are awaiting official testing. The Red Cross's shelter has 120 residents and 20 employees, all of whom were screened. The shelter will be under quarantine until 3 May. Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony admitted to HVG on Monday that COVID-19 is present in other homeless shelters as well, which is why they already began screening in shelters and daytime warming centres.
Officials expect the epidemic in Hungary to peak on 3 May, Müller said that this peak is going to be more like a plateau with the same amounts of new infections registered each day for a longer while. Responding to a question from the press she added that this is not going to affect the high school final exams scheduled to begin on 4 May, provided everyone obeys hygiene rules. On Monday evening, secretary of public education Zoltán Maruzsa said that "if epidemiological considerations justify moving the exam dates, the necessary decisions will be made."
On Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had said that "by 3 May, the country will reach its full defensive potential," meaning that there would be enough doctors, equipment, and hospital capacity to admit COVID-19 patients even if the virus breaks loose. This, Orbán said, would allow the country to slowly start turning life back to normal, adding that the plan for that will be unveiled early May. The Prime Minister expects the economy to return to levels seen two months ago by this time next year.
Coronavirus in Hungary, in numbers:
(Cover photo: Istvan Huszti / Index)
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