Since the start of the epidemic in Hungary, many reports have emerged of healthcare workers who have tested positive for coronavirus, including hospital staff, GPs, and pharmacists. From the start of the first wave of the coronavirus, a total of 1,234 healthcare workers became infected with the virus, and now the number of active infections stands at 481, according to National Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller.
At today’s daily press conference of the operative board responsible for controlling the coronavirus in the country, Cecília Müller, the National Chief Medical Officer said that “we can see from the numbers that, like the whole world, the number of infected patients and number of deaths is rising in Hungary. We are in an active phase of the spread of the virus.”
Today, a record number of new infections were found in Hungary, as a total of 1,322 new Hungarian citizens tested positive for the disease in the last 24 hours, which increased the number of total infected people identified in Hungary to 28,631. In response to a question from journalists, the Chief Medical Officer revealed that a total of 1,234 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak began, and out of the 21,494 active infections, 481 are health care workers. She added that one healthcare worker has died from the coronavirus in the country.
During the first wave of the epidemic from the start of the spread of the virus in Hungary until June, a total of 576 healthcare workers contracted the disease. Now, the number of active infections among healthcare workers nears the previous data, which also shows a worrying trend in the number and spread of the infection.
Although the proportion of healthcare workers has fallen relative to all those infected, as in the first wave 14.8% of those infected were healthcare workers, while this number is now only 2-3%. However, the number is still worrying as more and more people need hospital treatment and ventilation, so the work of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals will be paramount in the coming period.
Yesterday, liberal news portal 24.hu reported that hospital workers – who are most at risk of infection – who stay home with sick pay due to coronavirus infection, receive only 60% of their salary. They can get 100% sick pay with a long claims process, but only if they are confirmed as infected, and not as a contact. According to the unions, the pay of healthcare workers is low in itself, making the whole system particularly unfair.
According to the relevant labor legislation, 100% sick pay can be paid if it is an occupational disease, which can easily occur with doctors and nurses fighting at the front line during a coronavirus epidemic, but this only applies to someone who has a confirmed infection, which is especially a disadvantage for those who are only found to have been in contact with a coronavirus patient.
In this situation, they are quarantined for 10-12 days (or until 2 negative tests are obtained) even while healthy, and receive only 60% sick pay during this period. In addition, if they go back to work and meet an infected person again or become infected, they will receive sick pay in the same way once again.
featured photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI