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Preventive measures implemented against the coronavirus by Hungary have so far proven effective, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér said on Friday.

The measures include preparing an action plan and setting up an “operative board” to coordinate the actions of state authorities, the minister told parliament’s welfare committee.

Preventive measures focus in the first place on the country’s borders and the Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, Pintér said.

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Hungary has sufficient supplies of protective gear such as face masks and gloves on stock, he said.

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Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler told the committee that both his ministry and the operative board set up to coordinate preventive measures concerning the virus “have been prepared for all possible circumstances from the first moment”. Kásler said that as of now the “panic” surrounding the disease was “a considerably bigger problem” than the virus itself, noting that it has not yet been detected in Hungary.

The top priority now is to prevent the virus from entering the country, he said. The minister added, at the same time, that if the virus were to be detected, the South Pest Central Hospital and other institutions were prepared to deal with such a situation.

The ministry has prepared a protocol to be implemented in the event that the coronavirus is detected and has sent it out to hospitals, general practitioner practices, local councils and district government offices.

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In response to a question, Kásler said the ministry updates its national pandemic preparedness plan on an annual basis, adding that there were enough respiratory machines and other equipment on hand. He said there were 1.2 million face masks available which will be distributed across the country.

Shanghai Airlines Suspends Shanghai-Budapest Direct Service

State secretary for communications and international representation Tamás Menczer said that normally 12 direct flights operate between Hungary and China, but four of those had been suspended. From Monday, only Air China will be operating its Beijing-Budapest flight, he said, noting that China has banned its citizens from booking group tours abroad.

Health official: No coronavirus present in Hungary

No cases of the coronavirus infection have been reported in Hungary, though a flu epidemic is ongoing, the head of the epidemiology department of the public health authority told public broadcaster M1 on Sunday.

Ágnes Danielisz said mail sent from China was safe and the virus could not survive temperature changes or dehydration during the long journey.

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The authority has launched a 24-hour hotline to answer questions concerning coronavirus at 06-80-277-455 or 06-80-277-456 from Hungary and 36-80-277-455 or 36-80-277-456 from abroad.

Featured photo illustration via Tamás Sóki/MTI