Many residents of Budapest are disobeying the movement restrictions in effect for the coronavirus outbreak, and as a result, the Hungarian capital may soon reach the phase of mass infections, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller warned on Tuesday.
“If people don’t respect the movement restrictions, Budapest may become a focal point,” Müller said at regular daily press conference of the Coronavirus Operative Group on Tuesday.
Hungary currently has movement restrictions in effect until April 11, meaning that people can only commute to work, shop for essentials such as medicine, and visit doctors in emergencies.
Today, the government will decide whether to extend those restrictions at a cabinet meeting where the mayor of Budapest and the president of the Hungarian Mayors’ Association have also been invited.
Meanwhile, police detained a 54-year-old man and his 15-year-old daughter who filmed and posted a video on the internet claiming that the coronavirus epidemic is a hoax and people should resume their normal daily lives.
Answering a question, Müller also said some research suggests that after the current wave of infections is over, a second or even a third wave could occur, adding that these could be less severe.
She also said that comparing national coronavirus data is a largely futile exercise, as different countries use different reporting systems and the only reasonable comparison is that of death rates per inhabitants, and in that respect Hungary is on the lower third of the scale.
According to the latest official count, there are 895 confirmed coronavirus cases in Hungary, lower than in any neighboring country, with 94 recovered, 58 fatalities and 15,481 people in mandatory home isolation.
Almost two-thirds of the cases are still centered in and around Budapest.
Title image: Hungarian police checking a passer-by in a Budapest park. (MTI/Márton Mónus)