How Hungary is preparing for a second coronavirus wave

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With a second coronavirus wave hitting most neighboring countries, the Hungarian government offered reporters a glimpse into how the country is shoring up its defenses.

The government’s Coronavirus Operational Group invited reporters from news portal Origo to see a rare glimpse of the inner-workings of the group tasked with defending the country from the coronavirus.

While the public has seen a plethora of images of the healthcare system at work during the pandemic, the group, which is composed of experts and government officials, showcased each step it would take in a scenario that threatens to spread the virus in Hungary.

In the fictional scenario, several passengers on a bus bringing back Hungarian vacationers from Greece showed signs of a fever and other symptoms of a possible coronavirus infection.

The driver of the bus calls his travel agency, which in turn relays the information to the infectious disease control authority, which in turn notifies the Coronavirus Operational Group. A decision is made to divert the bus to the nearest hospital equipped to handle such cases.

Tibor Lakatos, head of the Coronavirus Operative Group’s intervention center told Origo that the rapid reaction units were created to coordinate actions when immediate action involving several different institutions was necessary. He added the exercise was meant to demonstrate how emergency medical services, hospitals, the military command structure in hospitals, police, disaster relief and the army can function together in such cases.

He also said that the pandemic was not over, the virus was present everywhere in the country and it was crucial to be prepared for situations where a large number of cases appeared in a single location.


The drill started at North Buda hospital where a bus is being diverted. In a real scenario, cameras might be present.


During the drill, one person in supposedly severe condition is transferred to an ambulance and taken to an intensive care unit.


The rest of the passengers were taken to a fully equipped isolation ward, complete with sanitation facilities.

All the passengers of the bus were then individually questioned and samples taken from them for immediate COVID-19 testing.

Finally, the bus the coronavirus patients arrived in was thoroughly disinfected.

The exercise, which lasted 90 minutes, was held at the North Buda hospital.

Title image: Epidemic intervention crew work in full protective gear. (all images: Origo/Csaba Talán)

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