May 08, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Operational Group: The number of newly confirmed infections is declining

At today’s press conference, members of the Coronavirus Operational Group reported that they have been monitoring the new measures introduced on Monday and that any lifting of restrictions can only take place under strict rules.

State Secretary for Education Zoltán Maruzsa said that matriculation exams took place this week, with the participation of most students. The exams were held without any disruption or scandal, he said, adding that there now only remain exams for a small number of students, which will take place next week.

Despite the opposition’s hysterical attempt to exaggerate the extremity of the circumstances, the epidemic subsided, and students did not withdraw from the exams, the state secretary stated, adding that the government also provided the necessary protective equipment. Maruzsa then thanked the graduates for behaving in a disciplined manner and also thanked the teachers, heads of the institutions where the exams took place, and all governmental institutions for their cooperation and support.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller reported there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are now fully recovered. She also noted that more tests are being carried out, with nearly 100,000 samples taken so far.

For the fourth day in a row, the number of newly confirmed infections has declined, she said. However, rural areas where regulations have been eased since May 4 must be monitored closely.

Müller then spoke about the collaboration signed between the National Center for Public Health and the University of Debrecen. Its aim is to set up a national vaccine factory, which will allow for a continuous and independent supply of vaccines – for both compulsory and voluntary vaccinations. She also noted that pharmacies are now allowed to sell FFP 1, 2 and 3 masks.

Regarding the public health situation, she said several changes have taken place since May 4, but the movement restrictions in Budapest and Pest County cannot be lifted until the number of deaths decrease. Additionally, the CMO said that hospitality service providers need to thoroughly disinfect their hot-water tanks because legionella bacteria can develop there, and if not properly handled, there could be serious consequences.

Müller additionally discussed the need to thoroughly clean all restaurants, stressing that tables should be disinfected continuously. She suggested that cutlery be packed separately for buffet service, and that separate staff should handle payments as well. The government still has a ban in place for group events, she added.

Meanwhile, Colonel Tibor Lakatos, head of the Operational Group, reported that protective equipment will be primarily distributed to healthcare workers and nursing homes once again, with those working in primary care to receive protective equipment for a period of four weeks. He noted that more than 2 million pieces of protective equipment will be given to nursing homes and discussed the need to introduce responsible inventory management.

Lakatos also reported that the situation is under control at the borders. The Austrian-Hungarian border is under the greatest pressure, with more than 13,000 people being admitted daily. In the past 24 hours, there have been no people entering who were suspected of having the coronavirus infection, he added.

The colonel also confirmed that the lifting of restrictions can only take place under strict rules. The government is evaluating the previous lifting of restrictions on an ongoing basis, he continued, adding that any decision on new easings can only be made depending on the results of this evaluation.