Soldiers will be helping out staff in 93 hospitals around Hungary from Monday, fulfilling duties linked to protection measures against the novel coronavirus epidemic, the defence minister said.
The soldiers will not carry out tasks that require medical training but they will be involved primarily in physical and logistics work, also helping out with measuring patients’ body temperature, Tibor Benkő told public news broadcaster M1 late on Sunday. Their main task is to reduce the burden on health-care staff, he added.
Since soldiers were involved in disinfecting public educational institutions during the autumn break, the army has been invited to several other institutions to carry out this task, he said. Reserve volunteers have also been involved in this task, he added.
Benkő said that
the soldiers were also being used for border control tasks and to secure humanitarian corridors.
In response to criticism by Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, and former Socialist Defence Minister Ferenc Juhász concerning armed patrols, Benkő said carrying weapons was in line with the service regulations for soldiers in force since 1974 and also with a defence ministry decree introduced in 2005.
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