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2nd July, 2020

Survey confirms low infection rate

Only three of 10,575 PCR tests for the Covid-19 virus conducted in May were positive, University of Semmelweis Rector Bela Merkely announced on Wednesday.

Two of the infected persons were already in hospital at the time.

The proportion of active infections confirmed by PCR test was 0.029%, and the estimated number of infected people was 2,421 at the time of the study.

Of those who provided a sample, 70 seropositive cases were found, based on which 0.68% of the population, 56,439 people, could have contracted the infection at some point before May 16.

According to Merkely, both the active infection rate (2.9 people out of 10,000 inhabitants) and the rate of transfection (68 people out of 10,000 inhabitants) can be said to be low.

The results of related questionnaires show that loss of senses of taste and smell, as well as muscle and joint pain, were significantly more common among those infected with the virus.

Among those who went through the infection, symptoms often mentioned were difficulty breathing and diarrhoea.

Kornelia Mag, vice-president of the Central Statistics Office, said 17,787 people over the age of 14 living in private households in 489 settlements were selected for the representative survey, of whom 10,575 complied with the invitation and participated in the May 1-16, study. (444.hu; index.hu; hvg.hu; atv.hu; hirado.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
2nd July, 2020

Performing artists protest against transformation of university

Some 70 Hungarian actors, directors, cinematographers and screenwriters have issued an open letter to deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen, Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics and MPs, protesting against the planned transformation of the University of Drama and Motion Picture Art.

The signatories ask Semjen to rescind the bill he had submitted, and Palkovics to start meaningful talks with representatives of the university community.

They ask MPs not to vote for the bill on transferring control of the university to a foundation. MPs are due to vote on the bill today.

They wrote that generations have transferred professional knowledge and the love of the profession to one another at the University of Drama and Motion Picture Art for 155 years, adding that any transformation which ignores the tremendous experience that has accumulated at the university is dangerous.

Recent developments prove that the planned change of model, lacking any feasibility study, and accelerated without justification, is ill-considered, as it lacks preparatory work by the leadership, teachers, former and current students of the university, and responsible professional organisations, they add.

Among the signatories are actor and director Robert Alfoldi, actor Gyorgy Cserhalmi, musician Laszlo Des, actor Janos Kulka, novelist Peter Nadas, singer-songwriter Gabor Presser, cinematographer Elemer Ragalyi, and actor Peter Rudolf, the new director of the Vigszinhaz from July 1. (index.hu; atv.hu; nepszava.hu; 24.hu; 444.hu)
2nd July, 2020

Socialists: cabinet wants to defeat democracy not the epidemic

The cabinet has abused the situation created by the coronavirus, imposing a number of changes that had nothing to do with combating the epidemic, Zsolt Molnar, head of the Budapest chapter of the Socialists, told an online press conference on Wednesday.

He said the cabinet primarily looked on the remaining institutions of democracy rather than the epidemic as something to be overcome.

Because of the results of the October municipal elections, those in power launched “a brutal attack” on the local council system, starting with Budapest, he said.

The cabinet acts against freedom of expression and does all in its power to hinder access to data of public interest by civilians and the opposition, Molnar added.

He said the stricter rules on spreading fake news “can also be interpreted as a brutal attack on freedom of expression and the few remaining institutions of democracy.”

He accused those in power of “seizing” the tourist sector in order to develop hotel chains owned by Fidesz people, recalling that the state is providing Ft 83 billion in grants for related development projects. (atv.hu; hirado.hu)
2nd July, 2020

Army to create 3,000 jobs

The Hungarian Armed Forces will provide jobs to 3,000 people over the next six months, Defence Minister Tibor Benko said on Wednesday as nearly 30 special volunteer reservists began their training at the Irinyi Janos military barracks in Budapest.

In a speech, Benko recalled that the armed forces had promised to take part in the cabinet’s economic protection plan by creating jobs.

Many people lost their job because of the coronavirus epidemic and it takes time to restart the economy and create jobs, he said.

The training of about 450 special volunteer reservists is about to begin at 14 locations. (atv.hu; ma.hu; hirado.hu; hirtv.hu; magyarnemzet.hu; 24.hu)
2nd July, 2020

Karacsony restores utility subsidies

A Budapest scheme to subsidise home utility rates for the needy has restarted from July 1, the Mayor’s Office announced.

The socially needy or disabled are entitled to an annual Ft 24,000, to help pay district heating, water, drainage and garbage delivery fees.

Mayor Gergely Karacsony promised in his election platform to restart the Budapest utility rate subsidy system which extended assistance to tens of thousands of needy families until it was suspended in 2012-13, the statement said. (index.hu; portfolio.hu; blikk.hu)
2nd July, 2020

Over 100,000 Hungarians apply for UK residence permits

More than 100,000 Hungarians living in Great Britain have applied for permanent resident status, the British Home Office has announced.

EU citizens living in the UK can apply for residence permits for one more year, until June 30, 2021.

Great Britain left the EU on January 31, but those EU citizens who live there legally can remain but must apply for legal status.

The Home Office said it had received 3.6 million such applications by May 31.

The Office said British authorities had assessed 3.3 million applications, nearly all of them positively, as only 900 were rejected.

Poles led the way, with 697,900 applications submitted, followed by Romanians with 590,100.

A total of 101,700 Hungarians had submitted permanent residence requests by the end of May. (index.hu; propeller.hu; hirklikk.hu)

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