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Mar 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Why is it important to introduce and observe compulsory home quarantine?

A sign from the authorities (“red card”) must be posted on the door of those who are sick which serves as a warning to everyone that there is a person inside who is under disease control observation.

The coronavirus is transmitted via droplet infection, and spreads very quickly. Therefore, in order to prevent a mass epidemic, it is important not to infect one another.

Hungarian nationals who may have potentially contracted the virus could be required to subject themselves to compulsory home quarantine. This is an extraordinary disease control measure for the event of an epidemic. At times like this, the authority requires a potentially infected, but symptom-free person to remain at home and not to receive guests for two weeks.

A sign from the authorities (“red card”) must be posted on the door which serves as a warning to everyone that there is a person inside who is under disease control observation. By violating the rules of quarantine, the person under observation commits a crime.

Hungarian nationals now returning from Italy are required to subject themselves to a compulsory home quarantine even if they have no symptoms. Upon crossing the Hungarian border, they are subjected to health screening which they are required to undergo.

People who are suspected of having contracted novel coronavirus infection as a result of health screenings are taken to hospital by ambulance. However, even those who are not suspected of carrying the virus are required to subject themselves to compulsory home quarantine in their permanent or temporary residence for 14 days.

In practice, this means that at border crossing points the police hand over an order to Hungarian nationals returning, for instance, from Italy requiring them to stay in compulsory home quarantine for 14 days and to post a “red card” (official warning sign) – also handed over to them – on their entrance door. Compliance with the rules of compulsory home quarantine is checked by the police.

During the term of disease control observation, people subjected to compulsory home quarantine must stay at home. They are not allowed to leave their homes or receive guests in their homes. They are required to use their own personal objects, tableware (plates, glasses, cutlery), textile ware (clothing, towels, bedding, tea towels, etc.), to clean and store them in their own homes. In the event of respiratory symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, breathlessness), they must immediately notify the general practitioner or duty doctor by telephone and follow his or her instructions.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller also said people selected for compulsory home quarantine are required to dispose of household rubbish sealed in double bags and then discarded in the bin. They are allowed to take delivery of any mail or other delivery at the door as these instances do not qualify as close physical contact. Proceeding in the same manner, they are also allowed to receive food brought for them by relatives. Those in quarantine who are unable to arrange for their supplies can request assistance from the local government.

We are asking everyone to follow the rules in the interest of their family and environment. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other.

This is what the “red card” posted on the entrance door on a compulsory basis looks like:

STOP

NO ENTRY

There is a person under disease control observation inside.

NO ENTRY

No entry for anyone except representatives of the authorities.

A person under observation is not allowed to leave their home without the permission of the authorities before being released from quarantine.

This red card may only be removed with the permission of the authorities. Failure to comply with the above will result in prosecution.

Home quarantine is also used as a means of prevention in other European countries.

For instance, Slovak nationals returning to Slovakia from abroad are also subjected to home quarantine for 14 days. In Poland at the beginning of the week, more than 4,000 people were placed under home quarantine, and since Wednesday those placed under home quarantine have been checked by the police daily to ensure that they are complying with the measures imposed.

In Romania, criminal proceedings have been instituted against 21 people who, returning from an infected region, failed to observe the rules of home quarantine. According to announcements made today, those who fail to observe the rules of home quarantine can be prosecuted for hindering attempts to eliminate infectious diseases, and are punishable by imprisonment for a term of six months to two years or the imposition of a monetary fine, pursuant to the penal code. If the crime is committed through negligence, the term of imprisonment can range from one to six months. In Israel, too, everyone entering its territory must retire to home quarantine for two weeks.

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.