The COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). On March 4, 2020, the first cases in Hungary were announced. The first coronavirus-related death was announced on March 15 on the government’s official website. On March 18, Surgeon General Cecília Müller announced that the virus had spread to every part of the country.
Due to the events and news connected to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in February 2020, several goods—such as antiseptic arm cleaning materials, masks and non-perishable food – were in short supply in a lot of shops in Hungary.Three new cases were reported on 12 March. One was a student from Iran (a contact of the first case) whilst the other two were Hungarian citizens. One of the two Hungarians was a woman who had been in Saint Ladislaus Hospital for several days, the other one was a man travelling from Israel. On 12 March, János Szlávik, head of Infectological Department of South Pest Center Hospital, confirmed that an Iranian citizen, held in quarantine, had recovered. All of his test results were negative. On the 15 March, 2 more people had been diagnosed with COVID-19, for a total of 32. Both of these cases were Hungarian citizens.
On 20 March, there were 85 confirmed infected people: 10 Iranian, 1 British, 1 Kazakh, and 73 Hungarian citizens.Six of them were in critical condition, whilst 7 had recovered. On 21 March, the number of confirmed cases was 103: 10 Iranian, 2 British, 1 Kazakh, 1 Vietnamese, and 89 Hungarian citizens.On 22 March, the number of confirmed cases was 131: 10 Iranian, 2 British, 1 Kazakh, 1 Vietnamese, and 117 Hungarian citizens. On 7 March, national ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution on 15 March were cancelled. Other cities and towns made similar decisions. A job fair planned to be held between 18 and 19 March at the University of Technology and Economics was also postponed.
On 11 March, the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency. While these periods usually last for 15 days (after which the state of emergency must be renewed by Parliament), Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said the measures may be in force indefinitely,as “there is a consensus that the length of this period may be not only weeks, but months.” Public gatherings in an enclosed space with more than 100 people were prohibited, sporting events that could attract more than 500 spectators must be held behind closed doors, and foreign exchange programs were suspended. Universities were ordered to suspend in-person classes and switch to online courses.
Entry restrictions were initially targeted towards countries with large numbers of cases; the country initially began to suspend admission of migrants from its transit zones on the Serbian border, citing the outbreak in Iran.On 6 March, Hungary suspended the issuance of visas to Iranian citizens.On 9 March, restrictions began to emerge on air traffic from Northern Italy due to the outbreak in the country. On 11 March, pursuant to the state of emergency, Hungary barred entry into the country by foreign nationals via China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Hungarian citizens would still be allowed to return, but would be required to undergo 14 days of self-isolation upon return. Border checks were also re-implemented at the Austrian and Slovenian borders, and the government suspended travel by its employees without prior approval.
Mihály Varga Minister of Finance said the government had to react to the real needs of the economy, and they were still waiting for the feedback from the trade and industry chamber. On 18 March during the early afternooon hours Viktor Orbán announced several upcoming decisions.. The decisions were as follow: All due payments are suspended which are caused by loans to persons and companies. It is valid for capital and interest payment as well.Short-term loans for companies are prolonged up to 30 June.Government remits subsidiaries which should have to paid based on the number of employees on the fields of tourism, catering, leisure, sport, culture and personal taxi service.