Apr 29, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Operational Group: We have now reached a balanced situation and a reduction in restrictive measures might be possible

At today’s Operational Group press conference, Zoltán Maruzsa, state secretary for Public Education, spoke about the measures introduced for this year’s matriculation exams, while Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller talked about the monitoring of nursing homes.

Zoltán Maruzsa, state secretary for Public Education, reported at the Coronavirus Operational Group’s daily press conference that matriculation exams will start next week. He said 3 percent of applicants have dropped out, leaving more than 84,000 students who will be sitting for the required exams to get into university. Students can withdraw up until the start of their first exam.

The state secretary also pointed out that there is no government order to take students’ temperatures and that anyone who is sick is being asked to stay home. Only a written exam will take place – no oral exams– to reduce the risk of infection. The exams will also begin at 9 a.m. to avoid graduates traveling to their exams with normal commuters. There will be police in front of institutions where the exams are being held to assist with management as needed.

“We will provide a mask for everyone and gloves for teachers at the expense of the state,” Maruzsa stressed. The institutions can take the equipment starting tomorrow, and all institutions are undergoing cleaning and disinfection. Older teachers with chronic illnesses will also be relieved from supervising the exams. There can be a maximum of 10 candidates in a room, and a minimum of 1.5 meters must be maintained between them, with adequate ventilation. Maruzsa also noted that graduates living abroad can also sit for the exam and will be admitted into the country for the duration of their exam and thus exempted from the 14-day quarantine.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller reported that 536 people have already recovered, while a total of 300 have died from the disease, including 278 people over the age of 61. There are currently 983 people being treated in 25 hospitals, with 675 people being treated in Budapest alone.

There are presently 27 nursing homes where the virus has appeared, Müller said. Nursing homes continue to be inspected and disinfected, and this process has already been completed in 300 institutions. The results of the government’s ongoing audits of nursing homes across the country are expected to be presented next week, the chief medical officer announced.

Müller also spoke about a government decree pertaining to prescriptions, which had facilitated access to previously electronically prescribed drugs, wherein their replacement did not require approval. Now this “government decree extends this scope to medical devices as well,” she stated.

Müller further talked about keeping the stress surrounding matriculation exams to a minimum and ensuring that proper hygiene is maintained in all institutions. She also thanked the teachers for their work and wished the candidates a successful exam.

“We have now reached a stable situation, which provides an opportunity to possibly introduce a reduction in restrictive measures,” Müller said, adding however that if people begin to encounter each other more frequently, the number of infections could increase.

Müller explained that the virus can be transmitted even with maximum precautions, which is why one or two hospitals became focal points. It is very important that all institutions follow strict rules, she added. “PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing will be performed on a representative sample by four universities, which will inform us whether the selected individuals are infected and if they’ve been infected before,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel of Police Róbert Kiss reported that in the previous 24 hours, police had initiated more than 1,100 proceedings in connection with violations of movement restrictions. The number of epidemic-related criminal proceedings rose to 296, 78 of which were related to spreading fake news.

The Lieutenant Colonel also noted that police inform those coming home from abroad at the border that official home quarantine starts immediately. These people must display a red sticker at their place of residence and will later receive an administrative decision regarding their situation.