Govt allocates over HUF 8 bn for coronavirus response

Hungarian authorities have reported another two cases of the new coronavirus, after another Iranian student and a Hungarian woman tested positive for the virus.

The Iranian patient is a student enrolled at Budapest’s Semmelweis University and the woman is the 74-year-old wife of the elderly Hungarian man who had tested positive over the weekend, the government website providing updates about the coronavirus outbreak said. Both new patients were identified by health authorities as they were tracing the contacts of earlier patients. Chief Medical Officer Cecilia Muller told a press conference on Friday that students in the same language course with an Iranian student who had tested positive for coronavirus may have been affected.

Two Iranian students who are being detained at South Pest Central Hospital have tried to evade quarantine rules, the head of Hungary’s operative board in charge of handling the new coronavirus outbreak said. Tibor Lakatos told press conference that the students had shown “unacceptable behaviour at night and during the day”. Besides showing a lack of cooperation, they also threw chairs out of the ward, he added. Any foreign patients who refuse to cooperate with the authorities risk being expelled from the country, he said. In the presence of police officers at St Laszlo Hospital, staff are maintaining the secure isolation of the students, he said.

The foreign ministry has decided that visas issued to Iranian citizens that have not yet been stamped may not enter Hungary. No action will be taken against any Iranians who have a valid visa and are already present in Hungary unless they break the law or refuse to abide by epidemic measures, he added. People who refuse to cooperate will be detained by the immigration police for six months, which can be extended for another six months, before being deported, an immigration official said. Iranian citizens have been informed about the rules, and the Iranian embassy, too, has been asked to pass on this information to its citizens.

The Goethe Institute in Budapest announced that it would suspend its language courses until Wednesday, after they were informed by the authorities that one of their students is among the coronavirus cases. Local authorities nationwide said they were cancelling the official celebrations on the March 15 national holiday. The cities of Debrecen, Miskolc, Veszprem and Zalaegerszeg have scrapped the events entirely, and the Szekszard authority said it would be cancelled only if the weather forces it indoors.

The Hungarian government has allocated over eight billion forints (EUR 23.8m) for the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the government information centre said. The operative board is to dispose over the money.

Source and photo: MTI

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