Hungary’s operative board in charge of handling the new coronavirus outbreak has called for the cancellation of all events to mark the March 15 national holiday.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Tibor Lakatos, head of the board’s emergency centre, advised people over 60 to avoid public gatherings and large crowds.
Those returning from Italy, he added, are asked to stay at home, along with their children, for a period of 14 days regardless of whether or not they exhibit symptoms of the virus.
Lakatos said the board had begun working on measures to be implemented at Schengen land border crossing points, which will include screening all entrants.
Chief medical officer Cecília Müller told the same news conference that
the virus was certain to continue spreading across Europe.
Chief medical officer Cecilia Müller told the same news conference that the procedure for defending against the new virus had so far changed on four occasions, adding that international organisations had already flagged additional changes. The Hungarian health authorities will comply with any further changes issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), she said.
Concerning the nationwide visiting ban imposed at hospitals, Muller said the restrictions did not apply in the cases of severely ill patients who are incapable of looking after themselves. According to the resolution, one parent is also allowed to stay at the hospital with their child and women due to give birth may also choose someone to accompany them, she added.
Müller confirmed that there were 16 health-care workers in quarantine, adding that their first tests had all come back negative.
She also said the virus was certain to continue spreading across Europe.
Meanwhile, Lakatos noted that the government has allocated eight billion forints (EUR 23.7m) for the response to the virus outbreak, which will primarily be spent on treating those infected and preventive measures.
He said the board had also discussed potential restrictions to be put in place at schools, adding that if necessary, the government is prepared to implement them.
According to the latest data from the government, fully 67 people are in quarantine, while samples have been taken from 531 people suspected of carrying the virus.
In another development, Gábor Gordon, board member of the Hungarian March of the Living Foundation, announced on Tuesday that the foundation was cancelling this year’s march because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Because nothing is as important as the protection of human lives and health, it is with a heavy heart that we must cancel this year’s march,” Gordon said in a statement.
The event was scheduled to be held on April 19.
Gordon said the foundation asked for the understanding of Holocaust survivors and “all decent people”, adding that, hopefully the march could be held at another time.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTÜ) has prepared an information brochure on the new virus for tourists in nine languages and will send it to domestic tourism service providers, portal site turizmus.com said. In addition to Hungarian, the official communication on coronavirus has also been prepared in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Hebrew. The document informs foreign visitors about what to pay attention to and where to turn to if they observe symptoms of the infection.