The Operational Corps made a recommendation for the government regarding the cancellation of central events planned for 15 March, Tibor Lakatos, the head of the Operational Corps duty centre said at a press conference held on Saturday. The government is expected to make a decision later on, he added.

He also said Milan-Budapest and Milan-Debrecen flights will have to be cancelled indefinitely; the implementation of the necessary measures is in progress.

Mr Lakatos said the Operational Corps will also be in session and will adopt decisions at the weekend. He further pointed out that anyone who fails to comply with disease control measures commits a crime. He indicated that there is such a measure under way also at present because – despite a binding decision – two Iranian nationals are not prepared to subject themselves to the rules of isolated observation. If they fail to comply, the police will take action to ensure their hospitalisation.

Anyone who infects another person with intent could be held accountable for as serious a crime as causing grievous bodily harm. If the patient dies of the infection, the person is held accountable for grievous bodily harm causing death, the police colonel said.

The head of the Operational Corps duty centre said the government had started an information campaign on the website

Measures adopted by the Operational Corps include that Hungary has suspended the issuance of visas to Iranian nationals; the South Pest Central Hospital has started vacating beds for the treatment of potential coronavirus patients; according to the Interior Minister’s instruction, penal institutions are required to draft disease control plans; and inmates can only leave penal institutions in special circumstances, on the basis of individual permission.

He also said several large companies had issued action plans. Additionally, for the weekend the truck ban has been lifted at the request of retail chains and stores. Additionally, last week schools received recommendations regarding disease control measures, and these were forwarded to parents. Mr Lakatos repeated that children who had been to infected areas in recent weeks should not attend school; their absence must be regarded as duly accounted for. The transit zones are being kept closed, he said, highlighting that at present there are 306 persons in the facilities.

Mr Lakatos said in Hungary five persons are being treated for confirmed coronavirus infection; four of them are in the South Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, while there is one further patient in the Debrecen Kenézy Gyula Hospital.

János Szlávik, head physician of the South Pest Central Hospital – Institute for Haematology and Infectious Diseases said the two Iranian students are well; they are awaiting the test results. If these are negative, they will be released. Regarding the girlfriend of one of the Iranians, he said her condition had deteriorated on Friday, but had subsequently improved on Saturday.

The eleven students – who had earlier returned from Italy – and the accompanying adults are well, and will be released from quarantine on Sunday. They are also observing two health care workers, they are also well, and could leave hospital within days.

Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler said the top priority at present is to avoid an epidemic in Hungary; so far, there are only isolated, individual cases.

He told members of the press that the Szent László division of the South Pest Central Hospital had vacated 145 beds for the treatment of possible coronavirus cases. The Szent László Hospital has 81 wards with 189 beds in total. If the capacity of this hospital proves to be insufficient, other hospitals will provide quarantine for patients.

As regards the treatment of patients, mostly mild symptoms emerge during the progression of the disease; however, respiratory difficulties could also develop in which case the need could arise for assisted ventilation. For the event that the number of infected persons should reach critical heights, they are preparing the Kútvölgyi hospital block for additional quarantine space. Should the need arise for any form of therapy, the intensive care unit of the Korányi Institute will receive patients.

According to his information, any cancelled lung operations in the Korányi Institute will be carried out by the National Institute for Oncology (NIO). During this critical period – a month or two – they will suspend lung transplantations in the NIO. If the need arises for pharmacological therapy, they will resort to the available medicines as well as to drugs currently in the phase of clinical trials.

According to Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller, the tests of the Japanese tourist group of 15 came back negative; they have been released from hospital.

The contact search in relation to confirmed patients has begun and is under way. In the case of the Iranian woman, they are currently investigating whom she may have come into contact with. In the case of the man who fell ill in Serbia, but visited his brother in Hungary, there is no need for any further contact investigation because he visited Hungary after the incubation period. They are awaiting the test results for the Dutch man who left the 18th district surgery after examination, but later presented himself at the South Pest Central Hospital.