Hungary’s health authorities have started inspecting the country’s 1,579 elderly care homes, concentrating on larger facilities where there is a higher risk of transmission of the new coronavirus, the chief medical officer told an online press briefing. Cecília Müller said that an investigation was still under way at a home on Pesti Road, in Budapest’s eastern suburbs, in which 10 seniors recently died after having tested positive for Covid-19. Overall, 200 elderly residents have tested positive. The inspectors will check if the homes have implemented coronavirus-related measures, if they have a doctor, staff and members have been informed, if they have sufficient personnel and supplies, and if the relevant protocols are in place, she said. She noted that the infection has been reported from several such institutions both in Budapest and the provinces.
Müller warned that the country must prepare for a massive increase in case numbers, adding that this is why hospital capacities are being expanded. She said Covid-19 patients that require hospitalisation should have “beds, personnel and ventilators” to avoid “patients lying on hospital corridors as in some EU countries”. Müller insisted that “not all patients are sent home from hospital”, adding that patients are released based on a decision by their doctors as well as on the basis of health protocols. “Nobody can be sent home with the prospect of damage to their health”. At present, only those patients are being admitted to hospital “whose symptoms are so serious that they cannot stay at home”, Müller said. Otherwise, life-saving operations and urgent procedures will not be cancelled, she added.