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Coronavirus: Hungary Committed to Helping Hungarians Stuck Abroad

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.24.

The foreign ministry is committed to helping return all Hungarians stuck abroad due to travel bans amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Facebook on Monday.

In a video which shows the minister consulting with state secretary Levente Magyar about the return of Hungarian citizens, the officials note that the foreign ministry helped bring home some 1,500 Hungarians this past weekend. Roughly another 1,500 are still awaiting help, they added.

Plans are for the government to send a plane to Cyprus on Tuesday to evacuate eight Hungarians stranded there due to a blanket ban on passenger flights, Magyar said.

A similar operation may have to be carried out in Peru, Szijjártó said, noting that there are currently 58 Hungarians stuck in the South American country. There are also 21 Hungarians stranded in the Philippines, 20 in India and 36 in Israel, he added. Magyar confirmed that the Hungarians stuck in Israel would be brought home in collaboration with the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) later this week.

Several dozens of Hungarians were also evacuated from Chile, Argentina and the Dominican Republic on Sunday, they said.

There are also 156 Hungarians in Thailand and 71 in Indonesia, they said, noting, however that these countries are still allowing commercial flights to Europe.

Magyar said the situation of Hungarians in certain smaller African countries that will soon be under lockdown, or are already, could become problematic. At the same time, the Hungarian government, he added, would find a way to evacuate those people.

Turning to the United States, they said there were around 900 Hungarians there waiting to return home. They are being gathered in cities with Hungarian diplomatic missions, and will either have the chance to board commercial flights or will be evacuated by Hungary or a European partner country, the officials said.

Currently there are also 35 Hungarians in Italy who have no means of commercial transport for leaving the country, Szijjártó said, adding that they would be brought back to Hungary by bus.

The task force assigned to help Hungarian nationals stranded abroad is working round the clock, and the ministry is constantly monitoring requests received by Hungary’s diplomatic missions, Szijjártó wrote.

Featured photo by Mátyás Borsos/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade