In Hungary, it is rather difficult to access the PCR test for the coronavirus infection. However, many experts are asking and advising the government to expand testing.
Those who do not meet the criteria in the protocol can still get themselves tested, but they do need to pay for it. At the National Public Health Centre, a test costs 30,000 forints (approx. €84), but if someone wants the results faster or wants to be tested on a Saturday, the cost goes up to 45,000 forints (approx. €125). At some private clinics, the price ranges between 25,000 (approx. €70) and 40,000 forints (approx. €110), reported 444.
If there is no visible sign of infection at the workplace, but the employer wants to make sure just in case, the state will not pay the cost of testing. But, of course, this also depends on the person’s income. In Austria, where income conditions are better than in Hungary, the Viennese laboratory offers tests for the same amount of money as the Hungarian National Public Health Centre.
It is significantly easier to take a free test in almost all EU states than it is in Hungary. According to Our World in Data‘s map, only Bulgaria has similar regulations to Hungary, where several criteria and conditions must be met in order to get tested for free. There must be symptoms linked to the coronavirus, such as fever, coughing, dyspnea, loss of smell or taste, or the person’s general practitioner must order the test if they suspect an infection.
But none of the above is enough on their own, at least one of the following must be met as well:
Therefore, close contacts of coronavirus-infected individuals, for example, are not tested if they are asymptomatic. In their case, a test can be requested “according to the available capacity”, except for employees of health and residential social institutions, who are tested both at the beginning and at the end of quarantine.
In contrast, other countries are trying to shape their regulations so that as many people as possible have access to the tests, to identify those infected as soon as possible, and to quarantine them to break the chain of infection.
Hungary has a very strict definition of who is entitled to a free test compared to other countries, and there are still hardly any tests taken compared to other European countries.
In recent days, the number of tests being done daily has started to increase in Hungary, which could be promising, but it is unclear whether this is a conscious expansion of testing.