The goal of the government’s measures is to prevent the introduction of the virus from abroad, Ors Farkas, spokesperson for the Government Communication Centre said on news channel M1 on Tuesday morning.
Farkas explained that Hungary has successfully defended itself in the first wave of the pandemic, with the disciplined behaviour of the Hungarian people enabling a flattening of the curve of infections. He described the domestic situation as favourable, with a very low number of new infections and no deaths for several days.
Nevertheless, he added, not every country has been as successful, as we are witnessing a resurgence of the virus in Europe: the number of new cases has been rising both in certain European Union Member States and other countries bordering Hungary. Farkas stated that the Government hopes that the restoration of border controls can stop the introduction of the virus into Hungary and lead to the maintenance of the current favourable situation.
He said that the Government hopes that compliance with basic hygiene and social distancing rules, the restoration of border controls, and – if necessary – the closing of border crossings will be sufficient to prevent a potential second wave of the pandemic, but the epidemiological situation may justify further measures.
On Sunday, Gergely Gulyas, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office announced restrictions on entry into the country in connection with the coronavirus epidemic. Based on the recommendation of the Operational Group, the government has decided to classify states into three categories – red, yellow and green – from the viewpoint of the gravity of the coronavirus situation, and is restricting the crossing of borders accordingly.
Gulyas said in countries falling into the green category, both infection rates and risks are low, and so admission is free. Those countries fall into the yellow category where the situation is less grave, while countries where the situation is grave fall into the red category.
Different rules apply to Hungarian nationals and their relatives and to non-Hungarian nationals. Hungarian nationals arriving from countries in the green category are free to enter the country without controls. At the same time, Hungarians entering the country from countries falling into the yellow or red category are subject to health screening and are required to retire to quarantine for 14 days. An exception to this rule is if the person arriving in Hungary from such countries is able to present two negative coronavirus test results from tests carried in the previous 5 days with 48 hours between the two tests. Hungarian nationals arriving from yellow countries are released from quarantine after the first coronavirus test, while in the case of countries in the red category two negative test results are required.
In the case of non-Hungarian nationals, the nationals of yellow countries are allowed to enter the country under the same conditions as Hungarian nationals, while nationals from countries falling into the red category are not allowed to enter Hungary, he said.
Transit passenger and cargo traffic constitutes an exception to these rules as does official travel. At the same time, health examinations may be carried out in the case of these as well, the Minister pointed out. He added that, the same as earlier, exemption from the rules of compulsory home quarantine can be granted by the police in cases deserving special consideration; applications must be submitted in English or Hungarian.