Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony has sent an email to the chief medical officer, Cecília Müller, requesting data on registered coronavirus cases in the city, along with the number and results of virus tests. In the email posted on his Facebook page, Karácsony said Budapest should be reopened gradually and cautiously, taking into consideration the epidemic’s trajectory. With this in mind, the municipal leadership has asked for data concerning the number of tests in Budapest since the beginning of the outbreak, containing the patient’s age and information on whether they contracted Covid-19 in hospital or elsewhere in the city. He also asked for the coronavirus research task force’s epidemic analysis as well as its forecasts regarding a potential second wave.
Karácsony also asked about a letter signed by Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler and Müller instructing the authorities to transfer all coronavirus patients in the country to two hospitals in Budapest. Karácsony asked whether that measure was prompted by health-care-related infections in hospitals outside Budapest. It is important to clarify whether those patients appear in the statistics as Budapest infections, he said.
Karácsony also called on the operative board to report on case numbers in Hungarian retirement homes and social institutions, along with the numbers in a care home in Budapest’s Pesti Road, where the number of infections has reached 330.
Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communication and relations, said in a Facebook post that reopening Budapest was conditional on a fall in the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the city’s elderly care homes, “where the virus is spreading the most”. Kovács insisted that Karácsony had been tardy in taking measures to prepare the care homes for the epidemic.
Kovács also posted a graphic showing that so far one hundred people have died after contracting coronavirus in care homes across the country, with 42 deaths in the Budapest-run Pesti Road facility alone. “We propose that the mayor concentrates his efforts on the elderly care homes operated by the municipality,” Kovács said.