The government is still not planning and the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic is still not recommending the introduction of a curfew or the lockdown of cities or parts of settlements, the head of the group’s duty centre stated at a press conference held on Thursday in Budapest.

Tibor Lakatos added, however, that measures were being taken to make the monitoring of compliance with compulsory home quarantine orders more effective. He said there are in total 3,065 cases of compulsory home quarantine in the country; these have been checked 8,293 times.

They also checked compliance with the restrictions on the opening hours of shops; so far, the authorities have imposed onsite fines in 7 instances and instituted prosecution in 9 cases.

He said at the Thursday meeting of the Operational Group they reviewed issues which could help with the preparations for the phase of mass incidences. He mentioned as an example the reviewing of available hospital capacities so that everyone in need of medical assistance should have access to it. He added that the restrictive measures which the government had introduced earlier continued to remain in force.

From among those violating the rules of compulsory home quarantine, he mentioned the case of a woman who walked into a financial institution and asked to be allowed to go to the front of the queue because she was in compulsory home quarantine. There was another woman who went to the police after she had lost her purse; it transpired after her details had been taken down that she was supposed to be in compulsory home quarantine. Mr Lakatos observed that this woman could also have filed her report by e-mail.

In a third case, in a doctor’s surgery a man was joking about the fact that he had recently returned from Spain, and he and his wife had “managed to escape” despite the fact that their seriously ill son was still in quarantine. The police were called in to take action; during their enquiry, they found out that the story was not true.

Mr Lakatos stressed that people who act like this disregard the hard work of thousands of health care workers, paramedics, police officers and disaster management experts because all containment efforts made in the interest of the Hungarian people living in Hungary are in vain if there are some who fail to observe the rules or make fun of the present situation.

He said the supply of goods continues to remain secure in the country, both the domestic transportation of goods and the transportation of goods from abroad are problem-free; however, due to border controls, drivers must expect to have to wait at the borders. Waiting times are 60 minutes at Rajka, 120 minutes at Hegyeshalom, 60 minutes at Rábafüzes and 90 minutes at Parassapuszta.

He repeated that at this time they are only letting goods vehicles into the territory of Hungary from abroad, in addition to Hungarian nationals.

Regarding passengers travelling to neighbouring countries and intending to use Hungary as a transit route, he said this is subject to a guarantee from the country stated as destination that it will let its own nationals into its territory. Regarding this, consultations are ongoing; on Thursday, the national police chief consulted with the police chiefs of neighbouring countries about arrangements. If a country indicates that it will not let in its own nationals arriving from infected areas, Hungary will likewise not let them into its territory as they pose a major risk of infection.

In the interest of facilitating cargo traffic, in addition to Hegyeshalom, goods vehicles can also enter the country at Rábafüzes and Rajka, while the Kópháza border crossing point is available, too.

Slovakia and Hungary have agreed that the workers of the two countries will be allowed to enter their territories if their work places are situated within a distance of 30 kilometres from the border. However, from Friday they will be required to present an employer’s certificate.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)