Politics & Foreign Relations

   Economic News

   Business News

   Other News of Interest

   All stories

17th March, 2020

New restrictions on borders, shops, restaurants

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán yesterday announced the closure of Hungary’s borders to all non-Hungarians as part of a series of increasingly drastic measures to contain the coronavirus.

All bars and pubs are ordered closed from midnight Monday, while restaurants, cafés and shops are allowed to stay open only until 3 p.m. Exceptions will be made only for grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores.

From midnight onwards, events are banned, even sports events, unless organisers agree to hold them behind closed doors, but the government advises against this, Orbán said. He suggested that people postpone all events.

Speaking in Parliament, he said “we are facing an invisible and unknown enemy. Not only it is unknown but it spreads much faster than any other viruses”.

He said 37 large pharmaceutical companies are working on developing a vaccine, but this will take months.

Orbán stressed that there is no single global solution to tackle the coronavirus epidemic, and countries have to develop their own defences.

Orbán then went on to say that, according to current knowledge, the spread of the coronavirus can be divided into three stages: individual infection, followed by group infections, and then mass infection.

Hungary is in the first phase so far, but group infections are to be expected in the next few days, he said.

Addressing the serious economic consequences, the prime minister said the entire Hungarian economy is in trouble, noting that tourism, catering and services are only the first areas to be hit.

Orbán also stressed the need to protect jobs, as the country was facing a serious wave of unemployment.

The epidemic is so serious, he continued, that budget and economic plans will have to be redesigned at all levels, co-ordinated by Finance Minister Mihály Varga.

Revamped institutional and municipal budgets will be presented within days, and measures to help the Hungarian economy are being worked out.

“Life in the coming months will not be what we are used to,” he remarked, adding that the most important thing in the coming months is the work of health and law enforcement bodies.

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).

Contact Free Trial Subscription