The entry restrictions from red and yellow classified countries will slightly change as of Saturday: the costs of coronavirus testing will no longer be paid for by the Hungarian state.
In the middle of July, the government changed the entry regulations and quarantine requirements for both Hungarian citizens and foreign nationals entering Hungary. They listed the countries into three different color categories with different levels of restrictions: red, yellow, and green.
FactHungarian citizens and their relatives and Hungarian residents
can enter Hungary from a “green” country without a health check. A Hungarian citizen coming from a “yellow” or “red” country will be subjected to health checks at the border and must be quarantined for 14 days. An exception to this is if they can credibly show two negative coronavirus tests 48 hours apart taken within the previous five days. A Hungarian citizen coming from a “yellow” country may be released from quarantine after the first negative coronavirus test (although they have to carry out the second one as well to confirm the results), but if coming from a “red” country, two negative tests are required.
In the case of non-Hungarian citizens, those coming from a “yellow” country can enter under the same conditions as Hungarian citizens, but it is not possible to enter Hungary from a “red” country.
From August 1st, instead of the state, everyone will have to take care of their own coronavirus testing when they return to Hungary from a country marked in red or yellow if they want to be released from home quarantine earlier than the required two weeks.
Throughout the country, family doctors received a letter from the government office that they could not order a PCR test to their patients returning from a country classified in the yellow or red category as of Saturday. Although they are required to inform their patients where they could test themselves, doctors do not know the details.
Only a few hospitals have their own laboratory for PCR testing. Thus, others can ask for a test from them or even from private market participants. Those connected to state laboratories will ask patients for HUF 32,000-38,000 per test, while those who buy tests on the market could ask for HUF 40,000-50,000 per test.
Those under quarantine can only leave their place of residence with a special permit, which makes testing in private laboratories significantly more difficult. In many cases, they have to wait days to get a license and the test results.
However, if they have a negative test, they are not allowed to leave their home without a permit. A separate application for exemption from official quarantine must be sent to the district, furthermore they have to pay a general fee of HUF 3,000 per person. After confirmation of this, they are free. In practice, this process might take longer than two weeks, so they would be exempted from the quarantine obligation anyway if they have no symptoms.
Featured photo illustration Tamás Sóki/MTI