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Oct 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS: Here's the latest

A regularly updated feed of the latest information about coronavirus in Hungary.

  

October 30 - 01:06 PM: New face mask rules come into effect on Monday

The Hungarian government is extending face mask requirements to restaurants and entertainment venues from next week. The new regulations enter into effect on November 2.

Under the new rules, members of the public will be required to wear masks at entertainment venues, restaurants and in catering facilities at sporting events. Masks will only be allowed to be removed for eating and drinking.

Mask-wearing is currently obligatory in shops, on public transport and in cinemas, theaters, shopping malls, healthcare and social-care facilities, at sporting events and public offices.

October 30 - 12:06 PM: Coronavirus Update: 71,413 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 71,413. In compulsory home quarantine: 26,396. Recovered: 17,953. Deceased: 1,699.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 51,761. The results show that 27 percent of those infected, 34 percent of the deceased, and 28 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 3,753 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 267 of whom are on ventilators.

October 29 - 11:40 AM: State Secretary: First wave of the pandemic had been handled very effectively by Hungary

Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, has noted the success of Hungary and countries of the region in handling the first wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

In an interview published by US weekly Newsweek’s Country Report section, Kovács said the first wave of the pandemic had been handled very effectively by Hungary, together with the other Visegrad Group (V4) countries but the second wave is different, with a different pandemic situation. 

The state secretary added that the V4’s collective performance in terms of controlling the spread of infection, the number of people infected and hospitalized, and fatality rates stood out as a positive example by global comparison.

During the first wave, Hungary initiated a special legal order which many believed was controversial, but “in comparison with, say, Italy or France, what we did in Hungary isn’t unlike what you’ve seen in Western Europe”, Kovács said, adding that during the pandemic in the spring, the Hungarian parliament continued in session which helped effective protection.

“The same is true for the economic package we have introduced: we believe that compared to intervention by governments in Western Europe and across the world, the Hungarian package is also a positive example,” he said. The government’s primary goal continues to be to protect, save or create as many jobs as possible, Kovács said.

“The philosophy through which we have addressed economic problems over the past 10 years has been a new one. The principle behind this is that we need as many jobs as possible to be able to support all the other elements of the economy: growth, investment, monetary issues and so on,” he said.

In August, Hungary recorded higher employment numbers than in January, which Kovács said was probably because of the effectiveness and the nature of the Hungarian government’s intervention. “We are proud of it and that remains in the focus of economic job creation intervention by the Hungarian state”, he added.

In response to a question about Hungary attracting direct foreign investment, he said that whereas in the 1990s, investment was mostly attracted by cheap labour and a comparatively cheap economic environment, the government is now much more interested in high value-added industries and investments. Such investments not only help investors from the perspective of high-quality competitive Hungarian labour, but also help the economic environment of Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he added.

The state secretary said the new industries that Hungary was focusing on were information technology and renewable energy. “There is a very conscious government effort behind this: our base is nuclear energy. We are extending the lifespan of our existing nuclear plant and we are building two new reactors in Hungary to provide the basic energy that we need,” he said. “In addition to this, however, solar technology is going to be the second leg of Hungarian energy security.”

Kovács said that in terms of sustainability, which comes together with the European policy for carbon emission reductions, “we believe that Hungary is performing well”. Hungary does not exploit its full quota for carbon emission, he said. “Our decisions in the field of energy will contribute toward that goal,” he said. “In this respect, nuclear power plays a major role and we believe that the goals of the EU cannot be met without nuclear energy. Our decisions, which were taken before the very ambitious new goals of the EU were set, are also proving to be right from that perspective”, he added.

In response to a question concerning the benefits of regional integration, he said the V4 formation had not come about by accident but had historical roots. “The initiative goes back to immediately after the fall of communism but has only fully blossomed in the past couple of years. The reason for this has been the discovery that the historical roots of cooperation are deep enough to provide the basis for our cooperation within the EU,” he added.

It has become obvious that central Europe’s historical, sociological and economic foundations and legacies are strong enough to define it as a separate region within the EU, like Scandinavia, the Benelux states, or the Franco-German axis, he said. Kovács said cooperation between countries in the region was very good in handling the coronavirus epidemic and in energy industry. “We are focusing on infrastructure, including energy infrastructure – gas, oil and electricity lines,” he added.

October 29 - 11:10 AM: Tighter COVID-19 restrictions are being considered by operative board

Proposals by the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors to tighten restrictions in the fight against COVID-19 are being considered by the operative board responsible for handling the epidemic.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said some of the chamber’s proposals announced on Tuesday had already been implemented. Ways to enforce existing regulations more effectively are also being examined, she said, adding that the operative board was open to cooperation with the doctors’ chamber.

According to MTI, Müller said Hungary’s healthcare system was prepared for handling the current wave of the epidemic, with everyone getting the care they need “at the highest level”. She said screening capacities were being increased, with 15,596 PCR tests carried out in the past 24 hours.

The Chamber of Doctors proposed stricter and more consistent rules for mass events, including tighter control of mask-wearing and social distancing rules. It also proposed further restrictions on the opening hours and number of guests in restaurants and entertainment venues as well as shopping times for the elderly. 

The chamber said current screening and contact tracing capacities were insufficient for monitoring the spread of the epidemic and that the government should emphasise the importance of individual prevention.

October 29 - 10:40 AM: Coronavirus Update: 68,127 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 68,127. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,585. Recovered: 17,469. Deceased: 1,634.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 49,024. The results show that 27 percent of those infected, 34 percent of the deceased, and 29 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 3,197 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 255 of whom are on ventilators.

October 28 - 10:46 AM: Coronavirus Update: 65,933 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 65,933. In compulsory home quarantine: 36,678. Recovered: 17,098. Deceased: 1,578.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 47,257. The results show that 27 percent of those infected, 35 percent of the deceased, and 28 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 3,166 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 263 of whom are on ventilators.

October 27 - 11:45 AM: New home quarantine laws introduced in Hungary

Lawmakers have approved several changes to Hungary's rules on quarantine which include increased fines for violators.

According to MTI, the new regulations raise the maximum fine that can be levied for breaches of home quarantine orders from HUF 50,000 to HUF 150,000 (EUR 410). The resolution also streamlines rules on the three types of quarantine that can be applied by the authorities.

Under the amendment, those entering Hungary from abroad will now be required to immediately begin self-isolation rather than having to wait until an official home quarantine order is issued. The amendment proposals submitted by the head of the Prime Minister’s Office were approved with 117 votes in favor, 23 against and 19 abstentions.

Róbert Kiss, a spokesman for the operative board coordinating Hungary’s response to the epidemic, told a press conference that 10,007 people were ordered into home quarantine by the authorities over the holiday weekend, 2,235 of them at border crossings.

Currently 28,070 people are in official home quarantine, he said, adding that 1,174 of them have registered to use the smartphone application that can monitor compliance with quarantine orders.

October 27 - 11:30 AM: First COVID-19 patient treated with Remdesivir produced in Hungary leaves hospital

A 75 year old woman, the first COVID-19 patient to be treated with Remdesivir produced in Hungary, has been released from hospital.

The Budapest Semmelweis University said the diabetic patient, admitted to hospital with serious pneumonia on October 14, immediately received a combined therapy that included doses of Remdesivir. The therapy had significantly improved her condition. The patient is now convalescing in her home.

In total, 19 patients have so far received Remdesivir manufactured by Hungarian pharma company Richter Gedeon.

Remdesivir, a virus inhibitor, is given to COVID-19 patients hospitalized with a serious condition. Clinical trials of Richter’s Remdesivir in Hungary started in mid-October, with all four medical universities of the country participating. The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on October 22.

October 27 - 11:20 AM: Hungary expands number of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients

Human Resources Minister, Miklos Kásler has ordered the expansion of the number of hospitals treating coronavirus patients.

The ministry told MTI that like the rest of Europe, Hungary, too, is seeing a steep rise in its number of coronavirus cases. Outside Budapest, six additional hospitals will be treating COVID-19 patients from now on. These include institutions in Vác, Cegléd, Esztergom, Hatvan, Baja and Orosháza.

The hospitals have been instructed to reserve 20 percent of their beds for COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, the minister has ordered the institutions already treating COVID-19 patients to prepare 30 percent of their beds for new cases by Oct. 30.

Minister Kásler has also instructed the head of national ambulance service OMSZ to make sure that those requiring hospital care are transported to one of the secondary or tertiary designated institutions treating coronavirus patients if the primary hospitals are at full capacity.

October 27 - 11:08 AM: Coronavirus Update: 63,642 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 63,642. In compulsory home quarantine: 27,050. Recovered: 16,646. Deceased: 1,535.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 45,461. The results show that 27 percent of those infected, 35 percent of the deceased, and 29 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,891 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 243 of whom are on ventilators.

October 26 - 10:30 AM: PM Orbán: Hungary will be among the first to have safe vaccine against COVID-19

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the Hungarian government is working to ensure that Hungary is among the first countries to have access to a safe vaccine against COVID-19.

Following a meeting of the operative board responsible for handling the epidemic, the prime minister said on a Facebook that Hungary has signed up for all European Union-based coronavirus vaccine research programs. The epidemic is gaining momentum all over Europe, including Hungary, he said, adding that Hungary’s infection rates were “in ranges of those of Austria”.

PM Orbán said the operative board reviewed the rules on mask-wearing. “We’ve given the public a grace period and by now everyone has had enough time to grasp that wearing masks is the only way to curb the epidemic,” he said. The prime minister said he has instructed Interior Minister Sándor Pintér to have the existing regulations enforced in a way so that mask-wearing becomes universal.

The meeting also touched on the availability of flu vaccines, which the prime minister noted was free for all members of the public.

October 26 - 10:10 AM: Council of the EU approves 504 million euro credit for Hungary to protect jobs hit by pandemic

The Council of the European Union has approved a 504 million euro credit for Hungary, within the framework of the EU’s SURE program to protect jobs in countries hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic.

According to MTI, the European Commission’s instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) was launched on August 24, and has disbursed 87.8 billion euros to 17 member states.

The instrument has been created to support countries hit by the coronavirus epidemic, by issuing loans to support short-term work schemes and other measures. The applicants are scheduled to receive around half of the support this year, and the other half in early 2021.

The finance ministry said that credit, available with favorable conditions, will refinance job protection and job health protection measures introduced after February 1, 2021. In the statement, the ministry noted that the Hungarian government had already provided aid to some 900,000 jobholders, by grants to help their positions on the labor market or training support.

October 26 - 10:02 AM: Coronavirus Update: 61,563 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 61,563. In compulsory home quarantine: 28,070. Recovered: 16,491. Deceased: 1,472.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 43,600. The results show that 28 percent of those infected, 36 percent of the deceased, and 29 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,602 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 233 of whom are on ventilators.

October 25 - 12:19 PM: Coronavirus Update: 59,247 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 59,247. In compulsory home quarantine: 27,883. Recovered: 16,242. Deceased: 1,425.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 41,580. The results show that 28 percent of those infected, 37 percent of the deceased, and 29 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,449 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 221 of whom are on ventilators.

October 24 - 13:13 PM: Coronavirus Update: 56,098 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 56,098. In compulsory home quarantine: 27,859. Recovered: 16,007. Deceased: 1,390.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 38,701. The results show that 29 percent of those infected, 37 percent of the deceased, and 29 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,245 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 205 of whom are on ventilators.

October 23 - 11:10 AM: Hungary will secure swiftest possible access to the coronavirus vaccine

Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Hungarian government is working to create the legal background to have the swiftest possible access to the coronavirus vaccine once it is developed.

According to MTI, Gulyás said Hungary has signed up for all European Union research programs and has secured 6.5 million doses of the vaccine at a cost of HUF 13 billion (EUR 35.7m).

Meanwhile, the minister said the operative board responsible for handling the epidemic is examining Chinese and Russian vaccines, with a view to buying them should they prove effective. He said Hungary currently had 1.3 million flu vaccines, adding that more would be obtained if necessary. He said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had been inoculated with a domestically produced flu vaccine.

The minister noted that the coronavirus situation was worsening worldwide, and Hungary was no exception, but while the mortalities per one million residents averaged 357 Europe-wide, in Hungary it numbered 129.

October 23 - 11:00 AM: Coronavirus Update: 54,278 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 54,278. In compulsory home quarantine: 28,261. Recovered: 15,655. Deceased: 1,352.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 37,272. The results show that 29 percent of those infected, 38 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,209 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 200 of whom are on ventilators.

October 22 - 11:19 AM: Finance Minister says recent budget achievements have helped blunt negative effect of pandemic

Finance Minister Mihály Varga said the budgetary and financial macroeconomic achievements of recent years have created a firm basis to blunt the negative economic and social effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Minister Varga told parliament during the debate on the final accounts for 2019 budget that the left wing had described last year's budget as unpredictable and unsustainable, but, he insisted, they have been proven wrong.

Instead of introducing austerity measures, the government has been managing the crisis with the help of a comprehensive program aimed at preserving jobs and supporting families, with a focus on guaranteeing the security of Hungarians, he said. One important condition for this in recent years, including last year, was pursuing disciplined and predictable economic policy that boosted the economy.

László Domokos, head of the State Audit Office, said that an audit of the implementation of the 2019 budget showed that the institutional system ensured that public monies were spent in line with regulations. The bill on the closing of accounts is well-founded and all revenue and expense figures included were reliable, he added.

October 22 - 10:29 AM: 2,032 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 52,212. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,764. Recovered: 15,254. Deceased: 1,305.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 35,653. The results show that 30 percent of those infected, 38 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,132 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 197 of whom are on ventilators.

October 21 - 14:05 PM: Parliament approves legislation to extend moratorium on loan repayments

Parliament has unanimously approved legislation to extend a moratorium on loan repayments, but only for vulnerable borrowers.

According to MTI, the legislation extends the loan repayment moratorium by six months to next June. It covers families with children, pensioners, the jobless, fostered workers and companies struggling financially because of the pandemic.

The moratorium was one of the first measures the government introduced in the spring to shield against the economic fallout from the pandemic. Banks are now prohibited from cancelling any retail or corporate pre-crisis loan contracts until the end of next June, effectively putting the onus on lenders to restructure the credit of distressed borrowers who are not covered by the extended moratorium.

State secretary for financial affairs, Gábor Gion said the extension could leave up to HUF 450 billion (EUR 1.2bn) with households and businesses.

October 21 - 13:50 PM: COVID-19: Middle-aged and elderly patient numbers increase

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has announced that an increasing number of people aged between 40 and 49 as well as people above 65 are among those infected with the novel coronavirus.

According to MTI, the CMO said that data from the past two weeks showed a shift, with 40-49 year-olds representing nearly 20 percent of all infected people, slightly more than 20-29 year-olds. The proportion of people aged above 65 has also increased, she said. The average age of the infected is currently 44.4 years, she added.

The proportion of children is still low at 4.6 percent. Müller said schools will be disinfected during the upcoming autumn break and the army will help in cleaning operations in institutions where the number of infections has been especially high.

Last week’s number of registered coronavirus cases per 100,000 people rose to 488 from 397 the week before. The operative board has ordered 17 schools and 153 classes to revert to digital education and 46 kindergartens and 21 schools have gone on emergency breaks, the CMO said. So far 909 healthcare workers have been transferred to hospitals treating Covid-19 patients from other institutions.

October 21 - 10:53 AM: 1,423 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 50,180. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,203. Recovered: 14,905. Deceased: 1,259.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 34,016. The results show that 30 percent of those infected, 39 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 2,023 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 201 of whom are on ventilators.

October 20 - 11:43 AM: 989 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 48,757. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,780. Recovered: 14,637. Deceased: 1,211.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 32,909. The results show that 30 percent of those infected, 40 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,960 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 197 of whom are on ventilators.

October 20 - 11:29 AM: CMO: Hungary’s coronavirus infection rates are close to the EU average

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has said that according to the World Health Organization, Hungary’s coronavirus infection rates are close to the European Union average.

The CMO said that among European Union member states, Hungary is tenth regarding the number of infections in one million people, and 14th regarding the number of deaths. She added that the number of infections is growing worldwide, including Hungary.

October 19 - 12:19 PM: 1,478 news cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 47,768. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,929. Recovered: 14,312. Deceased: 1,173.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 32,283. The results show that 31 percent of those infected, 40 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,896 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 188 of whom are on ventilators.

October 18 - 10:33 AM: 1,474 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 46,290. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,734. Recovered: 14,088. Deceased: 1,142.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 31,060. The results show that 31 percent of those infected, 41 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,712 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 179 of whom are on ventilators.

October 17 - 12:26 PM: 1,791 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 44,816. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,647. Recovered: 13,580. Deceased: 1,109.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 30,127. The results show that 32 percent of those infected, 42 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,693 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 185 of whom are on ventilators.

October 16 - 12:10 PM: PM Orbán: EU summit will focus on Europe’s response measures to the pandemic

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the coronavirus pandemic and Europe’s response measures are expected to be the focus of the upcoming European Union summit.

According to MTI, PM Orbán said EU leaders will discuss how they can best assist each other in their protective measures and mount a coordinated response to the pandemic.

In a video message uploaded to Facebook, the prime minister said that hopefully EU leaders would also “receive some good news” about when a Covid-19 vaccine would be ready, as well as how and when member states would have access to it.

October 16 - 11:40 AM: 1,293 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 43,025. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,656. Recovered: 13,134. Deceased: 1,085.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 28,806. The results show that 32 percent of those infected, 42 percent of the deceased, and 30 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,642 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 171 of whom are on ventilators.

October 15 - 12:07 PM: Only two state events will be held this year to commemorate Hungary’s 1956 uprising

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only two state events will be held this year to commemorate Hungary’s 1956 uprising against Soviet rule.

Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations, confirmed that the national flag will be hoisted with military honors in a ceremony beginning at 9am in front of Parliament.

The other event will be the presentation of Hungarian state awards. Otherwise, on Oct. 22 a laser show will be projected on to the Foreign Ministry building, he said. Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4, photos marking the most important sites of the freedom fight will be shown around Budapest.

October 15 - 11:55 AM: Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market canceled

Organizers of the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market have confirmed that they will cancel this year's event. Based on preliminary estimates by health officials and government statements, the virus is expected to peak during the Christmas Market season.

Budapest Festival and Tourism Center (BFTK) will launch a campaign to support the 100+ Hungarian craftsmen who were set to sell their products. The framework of the campaign asks people to buy and donate handcrafted products for this year’s holidays.

BFTK awaits further support and companies to join the initiative, as this season is the main source of revenue for this service sector. Currently, most vendors have web shops where their products can be found.

The Christmas Market tradition at Vörösmarty Square dates back to 1998. Tourists and locals come for the array of Hungarian cuisine, arts and crafts, and musical performances. Attracting annually more than 800,000 visitors. The market has been voted one of Europe’s prettiest numerous times in the past.

Various other Christmas Markets are normally held during this season. The Basilica Christmas Market was voted most beautiful in Europe last year.

October 15 - 11:40 AM: 950 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 41,732. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,710. Recovered: 12,628. Deceased: 1,052.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 28,052. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 43 percent of the deceased, and 31 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,555 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 167 of whom are on ventilators.

October 14 - 12:30 PM: New rapid PCR test developed in Hungary yields results in just two hours

A new rapid PCR test developed in Hungary can yield results in just two hours, significantly reducing waiting times when diagnosing people with coronavirus infection.

Speaking on Kossuth Rádió, Attila Szabó, a deputy rector of the Semmelweis University, said the test speeds up the procedure by showing the presence of the virus without having to extract its RNA from the sample first, a step earlier tests could not circumvent.

The rapid tests are reliable and “it is up to the manufacturer” now to scale up production, Szabó said.

October 14 - 12:13 PM: WHO satisfied with Hungary's handling of coronavirus

The foreign minister said it is clear that the World Health Organisation (WHO) appreciates the measures the Hungarian government has taken so far to combat the coronavirus pandemic and is satisfied with the way the country handled the first wave.

Following talks with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva, Péter Szijjártó said it is clear that the second wave of the pandemic will be different, posing far greater challenges than the first.

Minister Szijjártó said what made the first wave difficult was that the world had been completely unprepared for a global pandemic, adding, however, that the world’s healthcare systems have now had time to prepare for the next wave.

The minister said WHO has expressed satisfaction with Hungary’s purchase of the necessary protective equipment. He said WHO was also clearly aware of the disagreement being voiced by Hungary’s opposition parties regarding the procurement of protective gear. The organization believes it is better for a country to over-stock on protective equipment than for people to die due to their shortage, he said.

“The Hungarian healthcare system is prepared [to deal with the pandemic] and the WHO recognizes this,” the minister said. 

Regarding his talks with WHO leaders, the minister said both sides agreed that Hungary should only impose another lockdown “as a last resort”. WHO’s guidelines and the opinions expressed by the Hungarian people in the latest National Consultation survey both make it clear that the country must function, he added. 

October 14 - 11:01 AM: 920 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 40,782. In compulsory home quarantine: 23,815. Recovered: 12,164. Deceased: 1,023.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 27,595. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 44 percent of the deceased, and 31 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,538 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 156 of whom are on ventilators.

October 13 - 10:21 AM: 1,025 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 39,862. In compulsory home quarantine: 21,990. Recovered: 11,753. Deceased: 996.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 27,113. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 45 percent of the deceased, and 32 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,519 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 160 of whom are on ventilators.

October 12 - 1:00 PM: PM Orbán: Coronavirus numbers set to rise in coming weeks

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the Hungarian government’s aim is to encourage GP practices to create a community, to eliminate empty practices and improve the level of services.

After meeting the action groups coordinating coronavirus-related measures on Saturday, PM Orbán said on Facebook that the past two weeks had seen a rise in coronavirus numbers and this is expected to continue in the coming weeks in line with international trends. He said projections showed that sufficient numbers of hospital beds were available, with the transfer of medical staff to continue. A total of 106 doctors and 170 nurses have been transferred so far and the numbers can be increased if necessary, he added.

PM Orbán said that talks with the medical chamber would be continued next week concerning regulations for GPs. The government will provide the financial support for GPs to create a community of practices and improve the quality of local services, Orbán said. Once that is completed, talks between the chamber and the operative body coordinating coronavirus-related measures will focus on “defining the relationship between private and public health services”.

PM Orbán also said that the autumn break in schools will be held as usual, between October 23 and 31, and the situation at Hungary’s borders was in order.

October 12 - 11:30 AM: 1,173 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 38,837. In compulsory home quarantine: 21,491. Recovered: 11,037. Deceased: 968.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 26,832. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 46 percent of the deceased, and 32 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,418 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 154 of whom are on ventilators.

October 11 - 13:05 PM: 1,068 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 37,664. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,215. Recovered: 10,848. Deceased: 954.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 25,862. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 46 percent of the deceased, and 32 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,252 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 138 of whom are on ventilators.

October 10 - 15:54 PM: 1,374 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 36,596. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,780. Recovered: 9,683. Deceased: 933.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 25,980. The results show that 33 percent of those infected, 47 percent of the deceased, and 34 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 1,174 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 110 of whom are on ventilators.

October 9 - 13:10 PM: Women for Hungary awards honors those fighting Coronavirus

Katalin Novák founded the Women for Hungary Club in 2018 and is its president today. According to Novák, the club establishes awards that will recognize women who set an example each year.

This year the focus was on those who were brave during the Coronavirus epidemic. The Minister for Family Affairs handed out awards to women who have demonstrated excellent behavior.

Awards were given in four categories: healthcare, education, social, and any other field. The awards came with a grand prize of HUF 5 million per category.

There were initially 500 candidates which a professional jury dwindled down to 20 names. Those names were then put to a public vote which included more than 12,000 people deciding on the four grand prize winners.

Novák noted that “It is often said that when someone loses their sight or hearing, their other senses become sharper. With the mask, we cover our mouths and noses, but we don’t cover our eyes, ears, and hearts, so we experience that the saying is true and the other senses are really strengthened. The epidemic may therefore strengthen our most important senses, our hearts.”

The winners included Barbara Fábián, Katalin Balatoni, Marika Klenik, and female members of the Virology Research group of the Szentágothai János Research Center at the University of Pécs.

Barbara Fábián won the healthcare category for her hard work of informing people about risks and prevention of the virus. As a single mother of three, she organized material procurement needed for mask production and took a leading role in the distribution of protective equipment.

Katalin Balatoni, a folk dance teacher, won the education category. She provided online content for those in Hungary in Hungarian, as well for those in the Carpathian Basin and all over the world.

Marika Klenik won the social care category. She left her grandchildren to move into an elderly care facility. She was there to help and encourage the residents, also taking up a role in mask production.

The female members of the Virology Research group of the Szentágothai János Research Center at the University of Pécs won the other category for their work in testing basic pharmaceutical products for their effectiveness in the inhibition of coronavirus.

This year’s ceremony took place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest on Monday.

October 9 - 11:53 AM: 1,176 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 35,222. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,385. Recovered: 9,202. Deceased: 913.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 25,107. The results show that 34 percent of those infected, 47 percent of the deceased, and 34 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 993 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 82 of whom are on ventilators.

October 8 - 10:01 AM: 932 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 34,046. In compulsory home quarantine: 20,217. Recovered: 9,187. Deceased: 898.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 23,961. The results show that 35 percent of those infected, 48 percent of the deceased, and 34 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 804 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 56 of whom are on ventilators.

October 7 - 10:54 AM: 816 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 33,114. In compulsory home quarantine: 20,319. Recovered: 9,149. Deceased: 877.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 23,088. The results show that 35 percent of those infected, 49 percent of the deceased, and 33 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 656 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 41 of whom are on ventilators.

October 6 - 10:49 AM: 818 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 32,298. In compulsory home quarantine: 20,088. Recovered: 8,723. Deceased: 853.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 22,722. The results show that 35 percent of those infected, 50 percent of the deceased, and 34 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 627 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 37 of whom are on ventilators.

October 5 - 10:59 AM: 905 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 31,480. In compulsory home quarantine: 20,199. Recovered: 8,165. Deceased: 833.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 22,482. The results show that 35 percent of those infected, 51 percent of the deceased, and 35 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 649 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 40 of whom are on ventilators.

October 4 - 10:56 AM: 858 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 30,575. In compulsory home quarantine: 19,923. Recovered: 7,470. Deceased: 822.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 22,081. The results show that 36 percent of those infected, 51 percent of the deceased, and 34 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 685 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 42 of whom are on ventilators.

October 3 - 11:14 AM: 1,086 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 29,717. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,749. Recovered: 6,824. Deceased: 812.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 22,081. The results show that 36 percent of those infected, 52 percent of the deceased, and 35 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 704 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 43 of whom are on ventilators.

October 2 - 10:46 AM: 1,322 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 28,631. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,906. Recovered: 6,349. Deceased: 798.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 21,484. The results show that 36 percent of those infected, 52 percent of the deceased, and 37 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 740 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 47 of whom are on ventilators.

October 1 - 10:23 AM: 848 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 27,309. In compulsory home quarantine: 21,930. Recovered: 6,118. Deceased: 781.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 20,410. The results show that 37 percent of those infected, 53 percent of the deceased, and 37 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 757 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 52 of whom are on ventilators.

September 30 - 12:04 PM: Hungarian government will decide today on whether to extend controls along country’s Schengen borders

The Hungarian government will decide today on whether to extend the current controls along the country’s Schengen borders.

According to MTI, Róbert Kiss noted that the government had decided to temporarily re-introduce controls along the entire Schengen borders, involving 127 crossing points, including five for international transit.

Meanwhile, the chief medical officer has said the sharp uptick in the spread of coronavirus was starting to flatten out across the nation. Cecília Müller told the news conference that “the dynamics of the epidemic have changed favourably”, noting that the number of new cases was no longer increasing rapidly. While a month ago the number of new infections tripled from one week to the next, in recent days it has increased by a mere 2 percent, she said.

The reproduction rate of the virus has now fallen back from an earlier value of 2 to just above 1, which means that an infected person transmits the virus to no more than one other person, she said. People should continue to strictly observe the rules because “the disease is everywhere and anyone could contract it”, she added.

September 30 - 11:27 AM: 894 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 26,461. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,121. Recovered: 5,890. Deceased: 765.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 19,806. The results show that 37 percent of those infected, 53 percent of the deceased, and 38 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 773 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 54 of whom are on ventilators.

September 29 - 12:02 PM: PM Orbán: Hungary will procure a vaccine for the novel coronavirus

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said Hungary will procure a vaccine for the novel coronavirus and it will be made available to all Hungarians who want it.

In an interview with commercial broadcaster TV2, PM Orbán said that Hungary had successfully defeated the epidemic once and would do so again. PM Orbán said, “Brussels estimates the vaccine will be ready by 2021, while the Americans expected it to be ready by the end of the year”. “We’ll be free from this misery, and we will endure it until then,” PM Orbán said. 

The prime minister said the country’s healthcare system and economy would function. “We won’t retreat; we’ll preserve Hungary’s chance of coming out of this crisis fortified.” Hungary is in ongoing talks with the US, Japan, China and Russia concerning a vaccine, and it has contributed to research programmes funded by the EU, he said. “Chances are not bad,” he said, adding that one of these “great centres of force” would be able to offer a vaccine to the world within a year.

According to MTI, PM Orbán noted the elderly continued to be at risk, as the epidemic was picking up again. There is great pressure on the health-care and education systems, and that pressure would remain high for “the next few months,” he said. Epidemic defence has to be developed so that people can accept it, PM Orbán said. The government’s National Consultation survey served that end, and have shown that the people wanted to protect themselves but did not want the country to come to a standstill, PM Orbán said. “Hungary must function,” he said. “If health-care workers persevere, and if they manage to bear the growing psychological burden too, we will make it – we will succeed as we did in the spring,” PM Orbán said. He said that, hopefully, people would stick to the rules during the “cool autumn” more than they had done in the summer.

The prime minister said there were enough doctors and nurses and the necessary equipment – including beds, protective gear and ventilators – was at hand. The hospitals will be activated in a set order, he said, adding that, currently, the first eight hospitals had been assigned to participate in the protection efforts. Once they are full, the second tier will be activated, and so on. Doctors and nurses will be deployed where they are needed the most, he said.

Hungary is monitoring developments in neighbouring countries, he said. “The only one I don’t understand is the Czech Republic: the numbers are off the scale there; we have to watch that,” PM Orbán said. The border closure is still necessary as it is instrumental in “cutting the transmission lines” of the epidemic, he said. The prime minister said the country’s health-care system and economy would function. “We won’t retreat; we’ll preserve Hungary’s chance of coming out of this crisis fortified.”

PM Orbán also welcomed that the ratings agency Moody’s on Friday changed Hungary’s rating outlook from stable to positive. He added, however, that his single point of focus was preserving jobs. “If there is work, if there are jobs, there will be growth and good ratings,” he said. The government’s policy can be summed up in “tax cuts, investments and developments,” he added. If it comes to it, the state will also be able to hire people, he said, adding that while not optimal, it nevertheless provides households with opportunities “and puts bread on the table”. Traditional fostered job schemes are also a possibility; again far from ideal but “better than nothing”, PM Orbán said. He said public wages would certainly have to be raised over the next year.

The prime minister said more people are working in Hungary now than in January and March, with more than 4.5 million people in work. Ten years ago, he noted, when Fidesz took over the reins of government from the Socialists, 3.6 to 3.7 million people were in employment. People, he said, were sceptical that Fidesz’s jobs pledges could be achieved. PM Orbán added that the ultimate aim was for 5 million people in employment, “but that’s not a task for the coming months”. He said the real question was whether entrepreneurs would be able to create new and more competitive jobs. Around the world, an upheaval is taking place in terms of the workforce, production and capacity relocations, he said, adding that Hungary had to enter the fray.

September 29 - 10:37 AM: 851 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 25,567. In compulsory home quarantine: 23,740. Recovered: 5,173. Deceased: 757.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 19,637. The results show that 37 percent of those infected, 54 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 755 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 51 of whom are on ventilators.

September 28 - 11:54 AM: 702 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 24,716. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,017. Recovered: 5,152. Deceased: 749.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 18,815. The results show that 37 percent of those infected, 54 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 693 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 44 of whom are on ventilators.

September 28 - 11:45 AM: PM Orbán: All the conditions are in place to treat Covid-19 patients

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said all the conditions are in place in the country to treat Covid-19 patients, adding that the country has a sufficient number of hospital beds, staff and enough medical equipment.

In a video on his Facebook page posted after a meeting of the operative board in charge of coronavirus-related measures, PM Orbán noted that the second wave of the epidemic was under way “with strong momentum”. He said hospital capacity is reviewed regularly at operational board meetings in terms of whether there are a sufficient number of beds, doctors and staff, as well as the amount of equipment such as ventilators. The prime minister said additional hospitals set up to handle a surge of patients were available, but for now there was no need to open them.

Touching on another topic, PM Orbán said in an interview with Reuters that the debate on the rule of law was a ruse by some EU member states to put a spanner in the works of certain budgetary and financial plans. Creating a link between the rule of law and the EU financing amounts to an attempt to block the European Council’s policy on the Next Generation EU, he said. “It’s not about the rule of law,” PM Orbán said, but rather about how some countries want to prevent the implementation of a decision made in the summer.

September 28 - 11:30 AM: CMO urges citizens to abide by the rules to control the coronavirus

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has urged citizens to abide by the rules in place to control the spread of the coronavirus, warning that, otherwise, further restrictions would need to be introduced.

The CMO said the current stage of the epidemic was characterised by community transmissions of the virus. She called on the elderly to avoid crowded places and to go to the shops early in the day.

More generally, Müller recommended being outdoors and doing sports as much as possible. She added, however, that as the weather worsens people would find themselves inside, so mask-wearing should be taken seriously.

September 27 - 10:25 AM: 937 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 24,014. In compulsory home quarantine: 24,538. Recovered: 5,141. Deceased: 736.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 18,137. The results show that 37 percent of those infected, 54 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 620 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 38 of whom are on ventilators.

September 26 - 09:25 AM: 23,077 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 23,077. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,017. Recovered: 5,099. Deceased: 730.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 17,248. The results show that 38 percent of those infected, 55 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 589 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 36 of whom are on ventilators.

September 25 - 12:46 PM: PM Orbán inspects coronavirus facilities at St. László Hospital

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Interior Minister Sándor Pintér visited the St. László Hospital in Budapest to observe preparations for receiving coronavirus patients.

In a video posted on Facebook, PM Orbán talked to the head physician, who said the number of out-patients was “manageable” but there were a lot of people coming in to be tested for the coronavirus.

PM Orbán inspected the hospital tents set up in the courtyard. Another physician told him that the hospital hoped to increase the number of beds available for Covid-19 patients to 180 from 140.

September 25 - 11:09 AM: 22,127 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 22,127. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,374. Recovered: 4,945. Deceased: 718.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 16,464. The results show that 38 percent of those infected, 55 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 577 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 30 of whom are on ventilators.

September 24 - 11:07 AM: GPs can now confirm Covid-19 cases without positive PCR test

As of Monday, the NCPH released a new policy stating that general practitioners can diagnose suspected Covid-19 cases without a positive test result. GPs can classify them if patients present with Coronavirus-like symptoms (newly developed cough, fever, difficulty breathing, loss of smell, possible lack or distortion of taste).

Another new rule is that PCR testing is only mandatory for those who have been in contact with a person confirmed to have Covid-19 and for those who work in or are cared for in healthcare institutions or long-term care facilities.

Those classified by their GP as infected can only be instructed to self-isolate and will not be placed in an official home quarantine.

The current quarantine guidelines have been reduced from 14 to 10 days. After those classified as infected or close contacts have completed their 10-day self-isolation they may return to their normal lives without presenting a negative PCR test.

September 24 - 10:47 AM: 21,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 21,200. In compulsory home quarantine: 27,403. Recovered: 4,818. Deceased: 709.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 15,673. The results show that 39 percent of those infected, 56 percent of the deceased, and 39 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 549 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 32 of whom are on ventilators.

September 23 - 11:37 AM: Home quarantine for travellers entering Hungary from abroad has been lowered to 10 days

The Operative Board has confirmed that mandatory quarantine for travellers entering Hungary from abroad has been lowered from 14 to 10 days.

Róbert Kiss said the amendment of the relevant government decree came into force on Monday. He added that apart from quarantine, foreign citizens must also show permission issued by the police before they are allowed into the country.

In the past 24 hours, 3,062 people have been ordered into self-quarantine, 774 of them upon entering across the border. Currently, 25,212 are in home quarantine. Kiss said that of those self-isolating, 1,823 have allowed the authorities to electronically control compliance with quarantine regulations, noting electronic verification eliminates the dangers associated with physical checks without affecting data management.

On Monday, the authorities took action in 49 cases due to people neglecting to wear masks or wearing them incorrectly, he said. Twenty-two cases took place on public transport, while 27 were in shopping centers, he added.

September 23 - 11:26 AM: 20,450 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 20,450. In compulsory home quarantine: 27,449. Recovered: 4,644. Deceased: 702.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 15,104. The results show that 39 percent of those infected, 56 percent of the deceased, and 40 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 558 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 35 of whom are on ventilators.

September 22 - 11:00 AM: 19,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary 

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 19,499. In compulsory home quarantine: 25,212. Recovered: 4,559. Deceased: 694.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 14,246. The results show that 40 percent of those infected, 57 percent of the deceased, and 40 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 534 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 36 of whom are on ventilators.

September 22 - 10:50 AM: PM Orbán: Failure by young people to follow the rules could endanger the elderly and the sick

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned that a failure by young people to follow the rules could endanger the elderly and the sick. “Now the effectiveness of our defense against the pandemic really depends on us,” the prime minister said in his speech to lawmakers.

According to MTI, the prime minister said the government has capped the price of coronavirus tests at HUF 19,500 and decided that clubs and bars must close by 11pm.

PM Orbán said Hungarian healthcare was equipped to face twice the number of coronavirus infections as that modelled in worst-case scenarios. He said “doctors and mathematicians” estimated, at the severe end of the scale, that Hungary may contend with 200,000 coronavirus infections, with 16,000 requiring hospitalization and 800 patients on ventilators. The government has made preparations to accommodate twice that number, with 66,000 hospital beds available, he said. The health-care system continues to operate under a chain of command so that when certain hospitals reach maximum capacity others are activated, he said.

On the subject of the economy, PM Orbán said the government was committed to protecting jobs, noting that by August, 4.5 million people were employed compared with 4.458 million in January. Overall, nearly one million were benefitting from some sort of employment or job support.

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