Hungary: Coronavirus infections nearly double over weekend

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The number of coronavirus cases has nearly doubled over the weekend to 167 from 85 on Friday, the government’s official coronavirus website showed. There are currently 101 people in quarantine, 16 have been cured and seven have lost their lives, which were all people that had pre-existing medical conditions.

The government also warned that while Hungary is currently experiencing group infections, the country may soon transition into the stage of mass infections. Accordingly, the government warned the elderly to stay at home, abide by the authorities’ guidelines and advised citizens to help seniors purchase their necessities.

Specialists added, however, that with no identifiable infection hotspots present in the country, a curfew is not warranted.

Neighbouring Romania, however, instituted an overnight curfew, closing all but the most essential services, including supermarkets and drug stores,  and introduced severe prison sentences for those knowingly breached the quarantine.

Those who knowingly ignore the quarantine and thereby infect others could face 15 years in jail if one or more of the infected die.

To the south, in Croatia, the government is struggling to enforce stay-at-home measures. Despite closing all restaurants, cafés and bars, people continue to stroll in public places in large numbers. The Croatian minister of interior, Davor Božinović, warned that if people do not respect the quarantine rules, the government may be forced to institute nationwide restrictions on public transport.

Slovenia, with 404 confirmed cases, has banned all social meetings and the use of parks and playgrounds.

In the Czech Republic, with 1,120 cases, the use of face masks is mandatory and several people have already been fined 10,000 crowns (€366) for failure to comply.

In order to avoid unnecessary traffic, Hungarian police has also said that any official documents that have expired — such as drivers’ licences and identification cards — will remain valid until the state of emergency has been revoked.

Title image: A soldier and a member of the military police walk on the main square of Debrecen, Hungary, Friday, March 20, 2020. The patrol is deployed to keep up public safety and order during the time of the epidemic of the novel coronavirus. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)


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