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Every effort is being made to maintain stable and undisturbed freight transport to guarantee retail supplies and the functioning of the economy, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. He told public news channel M1 that he had asked his Austrian counterpart to start separating lorries from passenger transport on the Austrian side of the Hegyeshalom-Nickelsdorf border crossing in advance to ensure that the cars waiting to cross Hungary do not block the road for lorries. The Austrian minister said that the arrangements are under way, he added. Besides the crossing at Hegyeshalom, lorries from Austria are also allowed to enter the country at Rábafüzes, Rajka and Kópháza.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó held a video conference with his Austrian, Croatian, Italian and Slovenian counterparts to discuss the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus epidemic. In a Facebook post, Szijjártó said that Luigi di Maio, the Italian foreign minister, “had worrying numbers to report”, citing tens of thousands of confirmed cases in Italy. “The virus and the dangers it poses should not be underestimated,” he warned, calling on Hungarians wanting to return home from abroad to do so as soon as possible “or let [the authorities] know if they are experiencing difficulties”. “We will face travel restrictions for many months,” he said. The foreign ministry has set up a working group to organise the return of Hungarians stranded abroad, he said. The group has been in talks with other central European countries to fly Hungarians home from distant countries, he said. Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia agreed earlier to coordinate their actions and share information, he said.
Commenting on Slovakia, Szijjártó noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had told parliament on Monday that bilateral talks were under way on border crossing regulations so that communities near the borders can maintain close contacts. An agreement has been made on regulating border crossings for Hungarian and Slovak citizens.