The Hungarian authorities are currently focusing on individual cases in their response to the new coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the operative board coordinating the fight against the new virus was held, Orbán said Hungary aims to prevent nodes of outbreak from forming around the country.
Citing data published on Wednesday evening, Orbán said there were two confirmed coronavirus cases and 24 people quarantined in Hungary. The number of confirmed cases worldwide is over 95,000, with 3,268 fatalities and over 53,000 recoveries, he noted.
Orbán said people’s sense of security had been shaken and would be restored only when a vaccine becomes available.
Coronavirus 101: What You Can Do to Avoid It
Regarding public events during the outbreak, Orbán said the government will decide on Tuesday the latest on whether to go ahead with the official celebration of the March 15 national holiday. Should the situation in Europe deteriorate, the event will be cancelled, he said.
Regarding other events, the decision on whether to cancel them is at this point in the hands of the organisers, Orbán said. The operative board, however, has the authority to cancel events if the situation worsens, he said.
The government is providing all resources necessary to fight the new virus, Orbán said.
He asked political parties to show “restraint” and the public to show tolerance of any inconveniences caused by measures taken to counteract the virus.
In response to a question, Orbán said he was “proud” of the way Hungary’s disease control experts were handling the outbreak.
Asked about the virus’s potential impact on the economy, the prime minister said the outbreak would no doubt leave a mark on the European economy, “bringing tourism to a halt”. Orbán said he has instructed the finance minister and the innovation and technology minister to assess the virus’s potential consequences. He said the cabinet will discuss the budgetary details of Hungary’s response to the outbreak at its next meeting. Until then, the reserves allocated for central contingency measures will be enough to fund the response measures, he added.
Orbán confirmed that the second Iranian national diagnosed with Covid-19 on Wednesday is a student at Szent István University of Gödöllő.
The two Iranian students arrived in Hungary on Feb. 22 by plane but did not show any symptoms, Orban said. Two days later, one of them visited Semmelweis University’s occupational doctor and the two students were quarantined on March 3 and 4, respectively, and tested for coronavirus, he said.
Orbán said that both in the cases of the two female students who have tested positive for coronavirus in Prague after visiting Hungary and those of the Iranian students, the authorities had immediately begun to look into which places the students had visited in Hungary and how many people they had contacted. The disease control experts and authorities have now tracked down everyone they came into contact with and “carried out the necessary procedures”, he added.
Orbán said that if more people were to be diagnosed, more hospitals besides the South Pest Central Hospital would start receiving patients.
Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler told the same press conference that Hungary was not preparing to impose an entry ban due to the new coronavirus outbreak.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Máthé/MTI