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Mar 01, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Migrant flood possibly infected with coronavirus is expected to arrive at the Hungarian border

For the safety of migrants currently in the transit zone, Hungary is suspending the reception of additional refugees.

“The Turkish political leadership decided to open the border,” declared Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Chief Security Advisor, György Bakondi. “Turkish government sources estimate that 40,000 people have crossed the border since then. The transportation of migrants is being organized to the border of the European Union, and crossing the ‘green border’ [unofficial border crossings] is typical," he added.

To illustrate the situation, Bakondi said that during the first two months of the year, there had already been 6,700 illegal border crossing attempts. Today, this figure probably reached 7,000, but exact numbers will be released tomorrow. “From these 6,700 attempts, 6,100 happened at the Serbian border and 465 at the Romanian border. Proceedings were launched against 82 human smugglers.”

The security advisor also cited that “some 10,000 migrants are waiting to sail to the Greek islands, […] and 13,000 more migrants are trying to violently cross the Greek-Turkish-Bulgarian border.”

Not surprisingly, all affected countries are making efforts to handle the situation. Greece is defending its borders through the deployment of significant military and police forces, and Bulgaria also has military and police units at the Turkish border. On Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also convened his Security Cabinet and decided that additional means and forces are necessary in order to strengthen the protection of Hungary’s southern borders.

“The Hungarian government conveys two powerful messages,” said Bakondi. “To the Hungarian people: We will protect our borders and our internal security. And one [message] to the migrants: No matter what their “organizers” say, there is no way to Europe [through Hungary].”

Regarding the coronavirus, Bakondi said that most of the migrants are coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, which is one of the focal points of the virus with several cases of the infection and deaths caused by it. "For the safety of the 321 refugees in the transit zone, we are suspending the reception of additional refugees,” the advisor stated.

Colonel Tibor Lakatos, head of the operations unit handling the coronavirus call center, confirmed that there is no person in Hungary yet infected with the virus.

“There are 86,986 infected people worldwide, but the number of people being cured is increasing faster,” he said, adding that “there are 1,486 people infected in Europe. A total of 2,979 persons have died from the disease (31 in Europe), and the number of cured cases is 42,576 (88 in Europe).”

Colonel Lakatos also reminded us that if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that nearly 50 percent of infected patients have recovered from the disease and that the death toll is just over 3 percent. In Hungary, there were 25 patients whose blood samples were taken by doctors, and laboratory tests showed that none of them had contracted coronavirus.

Referring to what György Bakondi had said, Lakatos noted that “Iran is indeed a contagious focal point, and passengers are being screened at the airport.”

Finally, Colonel Tibor Lakatos once again reminded all citizens that the hotlines ( +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456) and the email address (koronavirus@bm.gov.hu) of the Interior Ministry are working, and professionals are available to answer any question people may have related to the current situation.

Photo credit: hírtv.hu