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12th March, 2020

Cabinet decrees state of emergency

The cabinet has placed a ban on travel from four countries hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak and has forbidden large gatherings, as part of a series of measures to prevent a pandemic, PMO leader Gergely Gulyás announced yesterday.

The cabinet has also declared a state of emergency, in effect immediately.

No non-Hungarians will be allowed to enter the country if they are coming from Italy, China, South Korea or Iran. Any Hungarians arriving from those countries will be quarantined.

Hungary will work closely with Slovenia and Austria to block infections spreading from Italy. All flights, trains and buses will be stopped at the Slovene and Austrian borders from midnight Wednesday.

The ban on large gatherings applies to indoor events for more than 100 people and outdoor events for more than 500 people. This ban does not apply to workplaces or shopping malls, but does apply to theatres and cinemas.

Consultations will be held with churches on holding religious services, Gulyás added.

The cabinet also decided yesterday to ban university classes, he said, adding that such classes can be conducted remotely.

As the disease does not typically affect children, there is no need to close primary and secondary schools, Gulyás said.

He confirmed that all students are banned from going on excursions abroad.

State secretaries and cabinet ministers may only travel abroad with permission.

The state of emergency took effect at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will remain in effect for 15 days. Any extension must be approved by Parliament.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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