The Operational Corps responsible for the containment of the coronavirus infection recommends that everyone should cancel events planned to commemorate the national holiday, the head of the Operational Corps duty centre stressed.

Tibor Lakatos asked schools and nursery schools not to organise commemorative programmes, and those over the age of sixty to avoid community events as far as possible and not to go to crowded places. At the same time, he asked anyone returning from Italy to remain at home for 14 days even in the absence of coronavirus symptoms, and not to send their children to school. In these cases, too, individual responsibility is very important, he highlighted.

The planning of measures to be implemented at Schengen road border crossing points is under way, and as part of those measures entrants will be screened, he said, adding that this will involve body temperature screening and personal interviews. Those who show symptoms will be taken to hospital.

He said the Operational Corps’ recommendation regarding sports events has been completed; a decision on the matter will be adopted by the government.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller highlighted that the protocol regarding the containment of the coronavirus has been updated four times so far, and international organisations indicated that further changes will be required.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) are currently in the process of changing the protocol, and the Hungarian authorities will follow the updated version. International medical recommendations regarding the individuals to be tested are also likely to be updated, she added.

From 8 March, the Chief Medical Officer has imposed a visiting ban on hospitals and institutions caring for the elderly. Regarding hospital visits, she said there are exceptions in these cases as well. She mentioned as an example patients in a serious condition who are unable to take care of themselves; in their case, visitor attendance is permitted. One of the parents may stay with minor children, and women giving birth may also be accompanied by one person of their choice. However, also in these cases, it is necessary to provide for individual protection, she added.

Ms. Müller asked everyone to act responsibly when seeing relatives. She said experiences show that the novel coronavirus is especially dangerous for the elderly, and this is why it is necessary to exercise due caution when visiting them.

Speaking about social institutions, she stressed that the visiting ban is not quarantine, but at times like this visiting is not recommended, while residents are free to leave institutions.

Ms. Müller confirmed that there are sixteen health care workers in quarantine in the Szent László Hospital; the first laboratory tests of all of them came back negative.

She also said there are 1,600 ventilators in the country; this was surveyed earlier.

Mr Lakatos pointed out that the government had set aside more than eight billion forints for the containment of the infection; this allocation primarily serves measures related to treatment and the containment of the epidemic.

He also said at its meeting the Operational Corps discussed the issue of school restrictions; as soon as the need for such restrictions emerges, they will adopt the relevant measures.

He added that the Operational Corps had not yet identified recommendations regarding the official travels of members of the cabinet, but they were certain that each individual would decide about travels in a responsible manner.

Ms. Müller said the brunt of the spread of the epidemic in Europe is not yet over.

In Hungary, there are 12 confirmed coronavirus patients. According to Tuesday afternoon data, there are 67 individuals in quarantine, while health care experts have taken 531 samples so far.