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26th March, 2020

British diplomat dies of coronavirus

Stephen Dick, deputy head of mission at the British embassy, is the tenth person in Hungary to die from the coronavirus, the embassy confirmed to Index.

He was 37 years old. According to an official announcement, he suffered from chronic illnesses.

He was taken into a Hungarian hospital in recent days, after contracting the Covid-19 virus last week, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reports.

Dick arrived in Hungary in October, 2019, having worked as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

British ambassador Iain Lindsay said “We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and friends. Steven was a dear colleague and friend, who had made a tremendous impression in Hungary since his arrival last October with his personal warmth and his sheer professionalism, not least his excellent Hungarian.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab mourned the loss of “a dedicated diplomat who represented his country with skill and passion”. (index.hu; theguardian.com; hvg.hu; blikk.hu; atv.hu; 24.hu; 444.hu)
26th March, 2020

Number of fatalities reaches ten

The death of a British citizen suffering from chronic diseases raised the coronavirus fatality total in Hungary to ten, chief medical officer Cecilia Muller announced yesterday.

The emergency task force also announced that the number of recorded infections rose by a record high 29 in one day, reaching 226.

The number who have recovered remains at 21.

Muller said six Covid-19 patients are in intensive care.

Task force leader Tibor Lakatos told a press conference that the capacity of intensive wards is continuously rising.

Respirators have been sent to the Kiskunfelegyhaza container hospital and the Hungexpo, where 330 patients could be treated, if necessary.

Brig. Gen. Romulusz Ruszin, representing the Defence Ministry, said the number of companies where soldiers are on duty and have partly taken over control is above 80, but this does not mean that “armed people are at the cash desks”. (index.hu; hirado.hu; hvg.hu; atv.hu; klubradio.hu; origo.hu)
26th March, 2020

Gov’t bans export of drug ingredient

The government has banned the export of hydroxychloroquine-sulphate, an ingredient in drugs used to treat the Covid-19 virus in several countries.

The ban, effective immediately, also covers products containing the ingredient.

Hungary is one of the largest exporters of this product, but now the protection of the inhabitants of Hungary and their medical supply comes first, the government said. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu; index.hu; origo.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
26th March, 2020

Another Ft 15bn for medical gear

The cabinet has made another Ft 15.2 billion available to the State Health Care Supply Centre to buy medical equipment, as stated in a government resolution published in the official gazette Magyar Kozlony.

Use of the funds is at the discretion of the emergency task force.

Portfolio calculates that the government has so far allocated Ft 26 billion for healthcare tasks in response to the pandemic. (klubradio.hu; portfolio.hu; origo.hu; hirtv.hu; hirado.hu; hvg.hu; 444.hu)
26th March, 2020

Field hospital in hospital courtyard

Armed forces medical units assisted by soldiers from Debrecen, Hodmezovasarhely and Szolnok set up a military field hospital in the courtyard of Budapest’s St. Laszlo hospital on Monday and Tuesday, army website Honvedelem reports.

The field hospital can avail itself of the hospital’s healthcare technology, said Col. Laszlo Bansagi of the army’s Health Care Centre.

Armed forces health care chief Istvan Kopcso said the tents make it possible for patients to be transferred to the best place for treatment in the shortest possible time.

The tents can withstand winds up to 100km per hour, and their cooling and heating system can ensure the appropriate working conditions ten minutes after they are put into operation. (infostart.hu; origo.hu; index.hu; atv.hu; 24.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
26th March, 2020

Soldiers patrolling in 15 towns

Soldiers are on patrol in 15 cities, primarily to enhance the public’s sense of security during the state of emergency, commander Sandor Mergancz of the armed forces law enforcement centre told M1 TV on Wednesday.

He said that military police are maintaining security for transit traffic in transport corridors. Police have designated nine petrol stations where foreign citizens passing through Hungary may stop. Soldiers are present in five of them. (atv.hu; index.hu; napi.hu; 168ora.hu)
26th March, 2020

Elmu, E.ON postpone works

Electricity distributors Elmu and E.ON announced yesterday that they are postponing wherever possible work that would require temporary blackouts, for the greater comfort of those people working and staying at home.

Such tasks will be carried out only if they prevent a larger scale malfunction.

These assignments were scheduled earlier, before the epidemic. In some cases, ten-hour long blackouts were planned. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu; 444.hu; nepszava.hu)
26th March, 2020

Commuting across Romanian border may resume

Hungary and Romania are working on an agreement to make it possible for those who live in one country and work in the other to once again commute on a daily basis, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement on Wednesday.

Long lines at the border due to new restrictions have made commuting across the border difficult, if not impossible.

“Apart from protecting people’s health, our job is to keep the economy functioning in the best possible way,” Szijjarto said.

Similar agreements are in force along Hungary’s borders with Austria and Slovakia, he noted.

The Hungarian and Romanian police chiefs are to decide as soon as possible when the agreement will enter into force and at which border stations.

The agreement will apply to anyone who lives within 30km of the border. (magyarhirlap.hu; index.hu; hirado.hu; ma.hu; magyarnemzet.hu; hirtv.hu; mandiner.hu)

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