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ORBÁN: HUNGARY'S SCHOOLS CLOSED FROM MONDAY

 

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said students will be able to prepare for their school-leaving exams, which were likely to be held as normal. Small day-care groups may be set up if necessary, he said, though it would be better for children to stay at home. Children should not be looked after by grandparents who are vulnerable to the coronavirus infection. “Let’s protect our parents, let’s protect our grandparents and let’s protect each other,” he said.
The government has reviewed Hungary’s medical supplies, Orbán said, adding that the national health services could handle tens of thousands of patients with Covid-19. The country’s laboratory capacities are good for several thousand tests, he added. Health institutions have 22 million pairs of rubber gloves and 1.2 million surgical face masks, while another 1 million will soon be obtained, the prime minister said. Hungary has 2,000 respirators and 2,000 anesthesia units, Orban said, adding that the purchase of further machines was under way.
The government has set up ten action groups to combat the virus, Orbán said. One group for education is headed by Zoltán Maruzsa, state secretary for public education, another for the construction of a mobile container hospital by Tamás Tóth. Defence Minister Tibor Benkő will oversee the group in charge of the security of strategic companies. Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, is in charge of the state of emergency, while Finance Minister Mihály Varga heads the financial action group, Orbán said.
The government has also set up a coronavirus medication and vaccine research group headed by Ferenc Jakab, and a border control group led by János Balogh, the national police chief, Orbán said. Since several travellers were diagnosed with the virus after they had returned from Israel to Hungary, Israel has been included in the list of countries from where no foreigners are allowed to enter Hungary, Orbán said. That list now includes Iran, China, South Korea, Italy and Israel, he said.
Hungary is keeping its borders closed to Serbian nationals coming from Italy and seeking to return home, Orbán said in a video message posted on Facebook in Belgrade on Sunday. Orbán travelled to the Serbian capital to hold talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. He said they discussed protective measures implemented against the coronavirus epidemic. Orbán said that as regards the common theme of the Serbian-Hungarian border they agreed that cargo transport could continue under security measures. “Hungary however is not in a position to allow entry of those coming from Italy, including Serbian citizens who want to go back to Serbia,” Orbán said.
Meanwhile, trains will not cross the Hungarian borders with Croatia, Slovenia or Ukraine, the national rail company MAV said on Sunday. Budapest-Zagreb express services have been cancelled from today, though the train will stop at Gyékényes, the stop before the border. Similarly, Slovenian Railways is halting passenger services to and from Hungary from midnight. The train to Ljubljana will stop at Őriszentpéter. Ukraine is closing the rail border crossing between Záhony and Csap from Tuesday. EuroCity trains will no longer travel between Vienna and Kiev from Monday, MAV said in the statement.
In a separate development, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér has been tested for the new coronavirus as a matter of routine after last week meeting the Moroccan transport minister, who has since tested positive for the virus, the government information centre said. Moroccan media said on Saturday that Abdelkader Amara tested positive for the virus. The minister visited Hungary and met the interior minister, among others. Pintér shows no symptoms, the statement said. He will undergo the same examinations as everyone who has come into contact with Covid-19 patients, and the results will be made public, the statement added.