Budapest’s mayor, Gergely Karácsony, has said Budapest will need special rules in place to handle the heightened risk to the city’s residents in connection with the novel coronavirus epidemic. Karácsony said on Facebook that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had raised the need for special rules in the capital, and that he agreed with him. “There’s a greater risk in large cities everywhere in the world.” “All over the world, information is being sharing between government, municipalities and health authorities,” he added. Citing Orbán’s pledge to create “the closest cooperation possible” with the municipality, Karácsony said Budapest awaited a “fundamental change in the current state of affairs”. “Military action plans may be important, but it is time to come up with humanitarian action plans, too,” Karácsony said, adding that “there are mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours behind such categories as ‘the infected’ or ‘the dead'”. Hospital bed numbers mean “doctors, nurses, health and welfare workers that risk their lives to fight for patients and people needing their care”. “Let us not just see figures and statistics but human lives behind them,” he said.
Karácsony also cited the prime minister as saying that the government was examining Austrian practices, and he suggested that Orbán should take the Austrian chancellor’s remark that 15,000 tests should be conducted each day to heart.
The mayor said he agreed with Orbán that the situation in elderly care homes, where a number of people have contracted the virus, called for consequences. The first such consequence should be that the government orders full screening of all residents and staff of all care homes in the country, he said. He also called for “immediate action” to hold the Budapest government office responsible for “banning the screening of patients before they were released from hospital back into care homes”. It was “obvious”, he added, that this move had caused the virus to spread widely in those homes. Karácsony said that the municipality of Budapest has purchased 10,000 rapid tests and ensured laboratory capacities to screen the elderly in homes and social services staff.