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Hungary’s parliamentary parties have unanimously suggested that schools should be closed down on Monday in view of the new coronavirus spreading, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told a press conference, adding that the government was likely to pass a decision within one day.

Gergely Gulyás said that the number of confirmed cases was among the lowest in Europe, and in itself it would not necessitate closing schools down. The government, however, “sees that many do not think that their children are safe” and wants to ensure a way of protection “people find most reassuring”, he said.

While Hungarian universities were ordered on Wednesday to close, a decree issued on the same day explicitly banned school (and kindergarten) directors to send pupils home. Reacting to this, the teachers’ unions have repeatedly called for closures.

Today, PM Viktor Orbán, however, in his regular interview with state Kossuth Rádió said “that as of current knowledge, the coronavirus doesn’t infect children. As soon as they find that children are at risk, they will close these institutions. He also argued that in case of a closure, teachers would be on unpaid leave. In addition, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller also argued against the closure.

In reaction, the opposition parties slammed the Prime Minister and the government for not taking necessary measures in schools amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

In the featured photo: PMO Head Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Attila Kovács/MTI