The epidemic investigation and contact search in the case of the foreign student girls infected with the coronavirus who travelled from Hungary on to Prague are under way, the Chief Medical Officer announced on Wednesday at a press conference held in Budapest.

Cecília Müller said experts are currently tracking down the places the girls had attended and the vehicles they had travelled on. By now a number of facts and data have been uncovered.

She said four girls arrived in Budapest from Vienna on a Flixbus service on 26 February. They have now ascertained how many people travelled on the bus; however, it will require further investigation to find out which seats the girls occupied, and who sat directly in front of them and behind them.

Three of the four girls fell ill, one of them travelled back from Budapest to Milan from where she wanted to return to the United States. She became ill in Denmark, and is currently being treated in a hospital there.

The two girls who spent two days in Budapest reserved accommodation via Airbnb; they did not meet the lessor of the property. Experts spoke to the lessor who told them that they had thoroughly cleaned the flat after the girls’ departure. Specialist staff verified this, and disinfected the lifts and all other surfaces the girls may have come into contact with.

Ms. Müller said during their stay here the girls had been to several places, had travelled on foot, had frequented a ruin pub, a pancake bar and a pharmacy, and had spent an hour in Széchenyi Baths.

Experts also contacted the baths management; however, also from there they received reassuring answers regarding disinfection as a week before the incident the baths management had changed the relevant protocol. They increased the chlorine content of the water in swimming pools, and so the water cannot carry the virus, while in the thermal water with water temperatures ranging between 33 and 36 degrees Celsius the virus is destroyed as a matter of course, Ms. Müller said.

They also found out that the girls had not been to restaurants; they had ordered in.

She indicated that the Czech authorities had notified all passengers; the journey from Vienna to Budapest lasted two and a half hours, without stops. They also found out that two Hungarian nationals had travelled on the Budapest-Brno service.

Ms. Müller said so far 230 laboratory tests have been carried out, each has been negative, and so there is still no confirmed case of infection in Hungary.

She reported that in every county the ambulance service had commissioned one additional ambulance. These take patients suspected of having been infected with the coronavirus to hospital, and do not take part in the usual ambulance service responsibilities. Unless the case is serious, they pick up the caller within two hours.

Tamás Menczer, Minister of State for Communication and Hungary’s International Perception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in five countries around the world there are 12 Hungarians in quarantine. The appearance of the virus in Hungary cannot be ruled out, meaning that “we are acting in a responsible manner if we take this possibility into consideration,” he said.

The Hungarian truck driver stuck in quarantine in Lombardy in North Italy is well, and may leave the region on 12 March.

There are five Hungarians in the hotel quarantined in Spain: a family with a young child and an elderly couple. They were going to travel back home last weekend; the elderly couple were supplied with medicines by the consuls visiting the site. The Minister of State said the Spanish authorities might lift the quarantine imposed on the hotel in Tenerife earlier than indicated.

The Hungarian law student quarantined in Tübingen in Germany is well; the staff of the consulate general in Stuttgart are in daily contact with her. If she continues to remain symptom-free, she might be allowed to leave her student residency accommodation on 10-11 March.

Mr Menczer also informed the press that from among the three Hungarians working on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, one person had been diagnosed with coronavirus infection. He has no symptoms and is well; he is in a hospital in Japan. The other two Hungarians are in quarantined accommodation, and they are well, too.

In China, according to consular registration, there are 179 Hungarians, 20 of them in the five most infected provinces, and 2 in Hubei Province. They are all well.

There are 36 Hungarian nationals currently in South Korea according to consular data, all of them are fine.

Mr Menczer indicated that they are also continuously monitoring developments in Iran. There is no direct flight between the two countries, and therefore if it comes to their attention that a Hungarian would like to come home from there, they will notify the airport so that the necessary tests can be carried out.

Tibor Lakatos, head of the duty centre of the Operational Corps said the number of coronavirus patients around the world stood at 93,455, with 3,403 cases in Europe. There have been 3,598 fatalities, including 85 in Europe. 50,743 persons have recovered from the disease, 205 of them in Europe.

There are continuous road and airport health care checks; so far 413 and 5,405 such tests have been carried out, respectively. Up to Wednesday noon, 2,347 calls were received on the two toll-free numbers.

Mr Lakatos said the website called to life by the Operational Corps had started its operation on Wednesday. This website summarises all information related to the coronavirus.

He highlighted that they would punish all breaches aimed at profiteering or misleading the public in connection with the epidemic. The National Bureau for Investigation has instituted criminal proceedings in four such cases.

He also indicated that they had found 28 websites whose contents amounted to threats to disturb the peace; in this regard, further investigations will have to be carried out.

He said, regrettably, even several news portals “regarded as serious” publish news reports which are based on erroneous information. He asked everyone to only share verified information.