Each EU state has different travel restrictions because of the pandemic, so it is quite easy to avoid certain restrictions depending on one’s route.
Hungary lifted the quarantine obligation for Hungarian and EU citizens in the middle of June, and Slovak Facebook users were quick to realise that if they travelled home through Budapest, they could avoid the restriction regarding people coming in from England. Now, the tables have turned, as Austria and Slovakia are giving Hungarians returning from England a chance to avoid a two-week quarantine or pricey testing, reported Forbes.
As each country tries to minimise the spreading of the virus as much as possible and introduce new restrictions and rules, often quickly, it creates a sort of chaos, as every country has a different set of rules, making it easy to play the system.
In Hungary, no one could come to the country without a strict official two-week quarantine until the middle of June, but the following month, basically almost anyone from anywhere could come and go without any sort of restriction.
In the middle of July, a colour-coded system was introduced, in which Hungarian citizens can travel to and from countries which are in the “green zone” but need to go into quarantine if returning from a country which is in the “yellow” or “red” zone. If someone has two negative tests, they can come out of quarantine, however.
When the colour-coded system went live, 11 countries – including the United Kingdom – were put in the yellow zone and 8 in the red. Two countries’ zones were changed two days later, but nothing else has been updated since.
Norway was still in the yellow zone at the end of July, despite being one of the cleanest countries, while Spain remained in the green zone, although it was hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19.
The United Kingdom remained in the yellow zone as well, so anyone coming to Hungary from there would need to theoretically either get tested or do a 14-day quarantine. As of August 1, the government does not finance tests anymore, so everyone has to pay for their tests who comes to Hungary from a yellow or red country. And since two negative tests are required in order to avoid quarantine, one would have to pay a total of 61,000 forints, which equals approximately €177 for the two tests.
The testing centre at the airport is not ready yet, and so anyone who comes to Hungary from the UK to visit family or for some off-time would have to stay at home for days before getting permission to leave quarantine. Many try to get their tests in England before leaving.
Austria, however, does not require UK citizens to get tested or quarantine upon arrival, so if someone from the United Kingdom were to come to Hungary through Austria, they may be able to avoid any restrictions.