Minister Gulyás: The second wave is here; Hungary closes its borders

Starting September 1, foreign citizens may not enter the territory of Hungary without a specially justified case.

After his second negative coronavirus test, Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, was on hand at the Kormányinfo press conference to announce the new restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the government intends to introduce new restrictions starting September 1, today we reviewed and made our decisions based on the situation in Europe,” the minister said, adding that “the second wave of the epidemic has begun in Europe.”

According to Gulyás, even today’s relatively high numbers can still be considered good, but the epidemic is clearly spreading. The majority of infections are coming from abroad, and the greatest risk is the threat this poses to the economy, jobs and the start of the school year, he emphasized.

“The Operational Group gave its recommendation, and regarding border protection, Hungary is returning to the rules of the first wave,” Gulyás announced.

“As a main rule, from the beginning of September, foreign citizens may not enter the territory of Hungary, only in justified cases; for Hungarian citizens coming from abroad, the requirement is 14 days compulsory home quarantine or two negative coronavirus tests,” he said, adding that these tests must be performed in Hungary. “We can only accept results if the testing takes place under controlled laboratory conditions in Hungary,” Gulyás explained.

Regarding the upcoming start of the school year, the minister said that the government is doing everything so that “schools do not have to close, and education can take place within a normal framework. The government has also decided that school closures can be assessed on an individual basis if there is a high rate of infection in an institution.”

“Unexpectedly, the digital education system performed well, but it is in everyone's interest for schools to operate on a regular schedule,” he said.

Answering a question from the press, Gulyás said that current measures may remain in force for at least one month, by which time the national consultation will be completed, after which new measures may be considered.

Finally, answering another question, the minister said that in contrast to the situation in March, the Hungarian healthcare system is now prepared for protection against the epidemic, so there is no need for a curfew, for example, as in the spring.

“At the same time, mask-wearing will be more strictly controlled, and the legal conditions for this are still in place,” he concluded.