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Forecast: Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Could Turn into One Thousand in a Week’s Time, says Health Care Secretary

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.17.

Several hospitals across the country are being designated as quarantine centres, Ildikó Horváth, state secretary in charge of health care, told parliament’s public welfare committee on Tuesday.

Horváth noted that a mobile quarantine hospital is being constructed in Kiskunhalas, in south-eastern Hungary, and the local hospital will be assigned for the same purpose. The hospitals of Ajka (W), Szekszárd (S), and Miskolc (NE) will be similarly adapted in view of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the state secretary said.

Horváth warned that a few dozen confirmed coronavirus cases could turn into thousands of patients in a week’s time, as has been the case in Austria.

Healthcare Gears Up On Preparations as Coronavirus is Expected to Spread Wider

The aim is to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic, she said. The government has introduced its measures in time so there is a chance for slowing down the spread of the virus if people act responsibly, she added.

GPs aged above 65 will not participate in direct patient services and the work will have to be organised in a way to allow only younger doctors to meet patients, she said. A decision has been made to postpone all non-emergency surgeries and the recruitment of more health workers has started, she added. New regulations have been introduced for medicine prescription and specialist medical exams can be postponed, she said.

A large number of acquisitions are under way for protective gear and ventilators and anybody showing symptoms of pneumonia for unknown reasons will be screened for coronavirus, the state secretary said.

Changes have been made to the laboratory network and in addition to the National Public Health Centre laboratory, seven labs are involved in screenings, she said. Additionally, the Korányi hospital in Budapest is being prepared to provide intensive care to patients in need.

Currently 45 health-care workers are in quarantine, she said.

Deputy chief medical officer Orsolya Surján said changes have been introduced to procedures and people who do not need hospital care should stay home even if they have symptoms. A mobile screening unit has been set up and screenings have been introduced for patients with serious symptoms regardless of their travel history, she added.

Featured photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI