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Apr 05, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

"Operational Group: The risk of a large-scale infection looms large in Budapest"

There are 733 confirmed cases of coronavirus nationwide, but Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said that the greatest risk of a large-scale infection looms large in Budapest, as most cases have been encountered in the capital and the surrounding Pest County. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Róbert Kiss of the Hungarian Police said that the growing number of movement restriction violations signals that citizens are “losing their patience.”

Speaking at the Operational Group’s regular press conference earlier today, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller revealed that more than 62 percent of all coronavirus infections have been encountered in Budapest and the surrounding Pest County. This is why, she said, the Operational Group is calling for the “increased cooperation” of Budapest residents.

“The risk of a large-scale infection looms large in Budapest,” Müller added, reminding the public that everyone must observe the movement restrictions and only leave their homes if it’s absolutely necessary. “This is not the time for long conversations; we need to run our errands quickly and go home,” the chief medical officer said, asking young people to avoid “group gatherings.”

“If we don’t obey the regulations, there will be an explosion in terms of infections,” Müller said.

Róbert Kiss, Lieutenant Colonel of the Hungarian Police, also addressed the problem of movement restriction violations and group gatherings, mainly in Budapest’s Városliget, Normafa and Margit-sziget. He said that there had been 301 cases just yesterday alone in which police officers had to give warnings to people for loitering. Police were also needed in Budapest’s 13th District due to an illegal drag race, while a man in Orosháza was arrested for fraudulent online trading of surgical masks.

“We are experiencing that citizens are losing their patience. More and more people are violating the regulations, when it’s in our common interest to obey them,” Kiss said. 

In a brief statement to MTI shortly after the Operational Group’s presser, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also announced that starting on Monday, public parking will be free of charge throughout the entire country.