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Coronavirus: Budapest to Expand Free Testing

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.12.18.

Budapest will expand its free coronavirus testing programme in light of the strong interest expressed by residents, Gergely Karácsony, the city’s mayor, said on Facebook on Thursday.

Karácsony announced on Wednesday that the capital will offer free rapid Covid-19 antigen tests to 5,000 residents between Dec. 19 and 23.

Because registrations for the tests reached full capacity within a few hours on Wednesday, the municipal council will reopen registration at 3pm on Friday for an additional 2,500 applicants, Karácsony said.

“I am well aware that the 7,500 tests offered by the municipal council are not enough in a city this size, and there’s a need for mass testing; but guaranteeing mass testing is the government’s job and responsibility,” the mayor said.

Karácsony said he hoped that the government “will again copy what the capital’s leadership is doing to curb the spread of the virus”.

He said the government had the resources to offer free testing, arguing that it had allocated 70 billion forints (EUR 196.7m) from its epidemic response fund towards construction works in Budapest’s Castle District.

“This amount would be enough to test every Hungarian citizen,” Karácsony said.

Featured photo illustration by Péter Komka/MTI