Hungary closes borders to most non-EU citizens

Rise in number of coronavirus cases abroad spurred decision

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: László István Veres

In an effort to keep coronavirus cases in the low numbers in Hungary, the government has decided to ban the entry of most non-EU citizens, cabinet minister Gergely Gulyás announced on Sunday. The restrictions take effect on Wednesday.

“If we manage to keep the virus outside the borders, we have a chance to avoid the re-introduction of restrictive measures that affect our lives,” Gulyás said at a press conference.

This means that the world’s countries will be divided into three groups: green for those with which travel will remain free, yellow for those where travel will be subject to a negative coronavirus test and red for the countries whose citizens are not allowed to enter the country.

The green zone consists in practice of EU member states, with the exception of Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania and Sweden, which fall into the yellow category together with the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Japan, China and the United States. The rest of the world – including most Balkans countries as well as Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – are in the red category.

Hungarian nationals can return home from the red zone, but will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days and will require two negative tests to be released. However, land travelers arriving from the green zone through yellow zone countries will also automatically fall into the yellow category.

Transit and goods transports through the designated transfer corridors will be exempt, as will official trips. Neighboring Croatia to the south will get a green designation, Gulyás said, because while the number of cases has risen dramatically there recently, the actual total remains relatively low. The government will field the costs of coronavirus tests for Hungarian nationals returning from the red zones up until August 1.

All entrants from the yellow and green zone will be subject to medical examination at the border crossing and be automatically quarantined, except if they have proof of two consecutive negative tests performed within the five days prior to entry.

Due to the recent spike in case numbers, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Poland have also re-instated some restrictive measures, while Romania and Serbia will probably do so in the next days, though last week in Serbia the potential introduction of measures has sparked mass protests.

Title image: Map of Europe with colors representing the coronavirus hazard degree. (source: Magyar Nemzet)

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