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Mar 21, 2020

Coronavirus update: Budapest and county defense committees are helping to protect against the coronavirus epidemic

The defense committees of Budapest and Hungary’s 19 counties will be holding a session during the course of today in the interests of coordinating and assisting the work of organizations taking part in efforts to protect against the coronavirus epidemic.

The defense committees are strongly advising people to conform to the recommendations of the Operational Staff and avoid social contact in the interests of slowing the further spread of the virus.

The meeting of county and Budapest defense committees was convened in the declared state of emergency so that they may support the fulfilment of the regional tasks set out by the Operational Staff, to coordinate the work of organizations involved in protecting the life and health of people, and particularly that of the public health bodies of government offices, the police, the Hungarian Defence Force (HDF), local governments and the ambulance service, and facilitate the flow of information between organisations.

The defense committees are chaired by government representatives, and include the county heads of disaster management, the police and the HDF, the county and Budapest chief medical officers, the mayors of cities with county rights and county council chairpersons, and in the case of the capital, the Mayor of Budapest. Committee sessions are also attended by the heads of district offices, including the chairpersons of local defense committees, in addition to which county representatives of the ambulance service also have permanent invitations to attend the meetings.

At the meeting, the participants review the operations of state organizations involved in the protection efforts. In addition, amongst others, in settlements the defense committees also monitor the supply of people in home quarantine, map people who are incapable of caring for themselves, people living alone and the homeless. They check that mayors in settlements are fulfilling their duty to properly supply inhabitants. They assess who requires regular, scheduled treatment and if necessary, organise their support.

In addition, they verify that all training and public education institutions in the counties and the Municipality of Budapest have suitably organized public catering and childcare, which are compulsory local government tasks. Furthermore, the defense committees assess the capabilities of the charity organizations and voluntary organizations operating within their area of competence. They also involve the local civil guard, the village caretaker network and district public administration customer service staff in the realisation of tasks.

If necessary, the defense committees will also assist the National Ambulance Service with transport tasks relating to taking samples from people who are suspected of having been infected with the virus.

A call center set up for advice on the coronavirus can be reached on +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456 or by email under koronavirus@bm.gov.hu