At a Tuesday afternoon video conference attended by EU heads of state and government – which was initiated by President of the European Commission Charles Michel – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán informed his counterparts about the current epidemiological situation in Hungary and drew attention to the economic impacts and the connections between the coronavirus and migration, Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief informed the Hungarian news agency MTI.

Mr Orbán informed his European colleagues that at this point Hungary is concentrating on the containment of the coronavirus; the Hungarian authorities are at present keeping the situation under control and are dealing with isolated, individual cases. All confirmed coronavirus patients are in hospital, in quarantine. Mr Orbán drew attention to the importance of striking the balance between underestimating the matter and panic. He made specific mention of the excellent cooperation with the Austrian authorities, Mr Havasi said.

The Hungarian Prime Minister pointed out that there is a clear link between illegal migration and the coronavirus epidemic as many immigrants are coming from or through Iran which is one of the epicentres of the infection. Hungary has therefore reinforced its border protection, and has temporarily closed transit zones, he said.

As regards the future, he continued, they are seeking to minimise the impact of the virus on the economy; the government is looking into ways in which to assist Hungarian businesses in harmony with the relevant European regulations.