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Parliamentary Groups Won’t Order Safety Measures in Parliament

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.09.15.

In view of the rapidly growing number of Covid-19 cases, government-critical weekly Magyar Hang has asked the parliamentary groups what safety measures they might want to introduce as the parliament’s autumn session is set to be starting on 21 September. Based on the replies, none of the Members of Parliament will be required to be tested for the coronavirus, and they will be exempt from the safety measures previously introduced.

The Office of the National Assembly recently announced that the Hungarian Parliament’s safety protocol introduced in the spring would also return in the fall.

This means, among others, that the body temperature of those arriving at the gates will be measured. Should this value exceed 37.2 degrees the guards will not let the person enter the building.  Before entering the premise of the Parliament, all persons must use the hand sanitizers located at the points of entry.

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Furthermore, masks must still be worn in restrooms, elevators, corridors, public spaces, as well as in canteens, restaurants and other areas not designated for work.

Members of the National Assembly, however, are not subject to these rules.

The paper asked all parliamentary groups to comment on the measures they might have or want to introduce to protect everyone’s health and safety.

Governing Fidesz said that it is solely up to the GPs and the epidemiologists to decide who should be tested based on the symptoms. Opposition DK said they are expecting their MPs to follow the recommendations of epidemiologist experts.

Opposition Jobbik replied that the party had already asked the government several times to provide free testing to everyone, adding that they consider this the only acceptable way. Otherwise, they think it would only make sense in case everyone was tested, including every parliamentary and office building staff.

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Opposition Párbeszéd (Dialogue) said that they have already ordered the mandatory use of face masks, with increased attention to hygiene and social distancing.

Opposition green LMP, however, claimed that they did not consider ​​the option of campaign testing as it could give an unrealistic and false sense of security while it would also create an unnecessary burden for patient care. They do, however, take wearing masks seriously.

MSZP and KDNP have not yet responded to the paper’s questions.

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI