The rule remains in effect that all health care services can only be used after the prior booking of an appointment by telephone, the Chief Medical Officer underlined at the Tuesday online press conference of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic.

Cecília Müller highlighted that this is the only way to observe disease control regulations. As a result of the Monday “opening of health care” – the resumption of health care services –, in some institutions there were scenes involving large numbers of patients seeking care, she said.

On the occasion of World Family Doctor Day, the Chief Medical Officer thanked general practitioners for doing their job and standing their ground even amidst the present extraordinary circumstances.

The expert also spoke about diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks. In general, she highlighted that these parasites do not play a part in the spreading of the coronavirus. However, some mosquito species can spread diseases also among humans; at the same time, in Hungary the majority of these species are only present in negligible numbers.

While the common house mosquito which is also indigenous in Hungary can spread diseases such as West Nile fever, subcutaneous worms and Usutu virus, “in Hungary we have effectively never come across these diseases in humans,” she said.

We can defend ourselves against mosquitoes by using different repellents, and avoiding the development of stagnant water around the house in which larvae can breed in large numbers.

Regarding diseases spread by ticks, Ms. Müller said bacterial infections spread by ticks include Lyme disease and viral encephalitis and meningitis.

If we detect a tick, it must be removed from the skin within the shortest possible time. At the same time, in order to prevent ticks from burrowing into the skin, it is wise to wear loose clothing covering the entire body.

In connection with a question, Ms. Müller said with the resumption of office work, we should pay attention to personal hygiene, the frequent washing and sanitising of hands, the frequent disinfecting of common areas, and keeping a safe distance from one another.

Regarding the wearing of face masks by children, she said while the relevant decree does not specifically provide for children, in her view no one should “force” children under the age of six to wear face masks. At the same time, neither are parents required to wear any protective equipment at playgrounds.

Regarding the current epidemic situation, the Chief Medical Officer said in the past 24 hours the number of confirmed patients has risen by 21 and five persons have died in connection with the virus. The number of active coronavirus patients currently stands at 1,677, while 1,412 persons have recovered from the disease. Forty-five per cent of active patients (756) are from Budapest, while patients in the countryside account for 55 per cent (921). 288 of the 467 deceased persons were from Budapest, while 179 from the provinces, she highlighted.

Ms. Müller said the trend of the past 10 to 14 days has been downward, with the lifting of the restrictions on movement the number of incidences has not increased, and therefore the epidemic continues to remain in the descending phase, she stressed.