Tamás Menczer, state secretary for communications and international representation, said the honorary consul in Tenerife and the consul from Madrid have been instructed to coordinate with representatives of neighboring countries on the possible repatriation of their citizens due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Menczer cited Interior Minister Sándor Pintér as saying that if there were “a viable way”, Hungary would be prepared to send a plane to transport home five Hungarians, an elderly couple and another couple with a small child, staying at the hotel. He added that if they had to stay at the hotel, arrangements would be made for the elderly people to receive their medications. “A Hungarian national must not be left without vital medications,” he said.
Concerning the Hungarian employee taken to hospital with positive test results from a ship (Diamond Princess) quarantined off the Japanese coast, Menczer said that he was still in hospital and waiting for the results of a second test. The two other Hungarian employees of the ship have tested negative but they will stay at an isolated shelter for another two weeks of observation, he added.
A Hungarian truck driver stuck in a quarantined area in Italy is well, and has been provided with food and lodgings, Menczer said.
In China, there are currently 175 Hungarian nationals, 20 of them in the five provinces most affected by the epidemic, but they are all well, Menczer said, adding that 35 Hungarian nationals have registered with the Hungarian consular service in South Korea, one of them in Daegu city, which has a high infection risk. He noted that the individual in Daegu did not wish to leave. The Hungarian government will do everything to help Hungarians abroad, but “it respects the wishes of those who do not want assistance”, he said.
Menczer also called on Hungarians leaving for countries affected by coronavirus to register for consular protection so as to enable the Hungarian government to contact them should quarantine be ordered in the destination country. Travellers can register at konzuliszolgalat.kormany.hu or on the foreign ministry’s website.
Menczer said he had contacted the association of Hungarian road hauliers and asked them to warn truck drivers, especially those who were recently in northern Italy, to report to their GPs and the association if they have symptoms of the coronavirus infection. He said three Italian provinces — Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna — had the most coronavirus cases, and advised against trips to those provinces unless absolutely necessary.