Two Iranian students who are being detained at South Pest Central Hospital suffering from the Covid-19 disease have tried to evade quarantine rules, the head of Hungary’s operative board in charge of handling the new coronavirus outbreak said. Tibor Lakatos told a press conference that the students had shown “unacceptable behaviour at night and during the day” and tried to evade quarantine rules. Besides showing a lack of cooperation, they also threw chairs out of the ward, he added. Any foreign patients who refuse to cooperate with the authorities risk being expelled from the country, he said. In the presence of police officers at St László Hospital, staff are maintaining the secure isolation of the students, he added.

The foreign ministry has decided that visas issued to Iranian citizens that have not yet been stamped may not enter Hungary. No action will be taken against any Iranians who have a valid visa and are already present in Hungary unless they break the law or refuse to abide by epidemic measures, he added. People who refuse to cooperate will be detained by the immigration police for six months, which can be extended for another six months, before being deported, an immigration official said. Iranian citizens have been informed about the rules, and the Iranian embassy, too, has been asked to pass on this information to its citizens.

Further, Budapest and Debrecen airports are suspending flights from Northern Italy airports. So far 6,598 people have been screened at Hungary’s airports and 427 at road border crossings. Also, two information hotlines in connection with the new virus have received 4,105 calls, he said, adding that calls continue to stream in. The purpose of the hotlines, he added, is not to manage patients. Any suspicion of illness should be reported by phone to the local GP, he said.

Meanwhile, Hungary’s protocol for the new coronavirus test is likely to be changed soon, following protocol changes made by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), János Szlávik, head of infectology at South Pest Central Hospital, told the press conference. The changes are expected to reflect new clinical and geographic considerations, he said. Also, the test for new coronavirus may be conducted in the private sector in the future, though a confirmatory test that is regarded as official will be carried out by an accredited laboratory of the National Centre for Public Health, he added.

Hungary’s chief medical officer has ordered visiting restrictions to be put in place at all of the country’s hospitals and nursing homes as a precaution to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the National Public Health Centre (NNK) said. The nationwide ban will remain in place until further notice. NNK quoted chief medical officer Cecília Müller as saying that information about the new virus so far indicates that the Covid-19 disease primarily affects the elderly or those with illnesses. The virus can spread quickly in closed communities and potentially cause a high number of fatalities, NNK said, adding that the ban was introduced “in the interest of protecting the lives and health of those in vulnerable groups and preventing their infection”.

Meanwhile, Pál Győrfi, spokesman for Hungary’s National Ambulance Service (OMSZ), told public news channel M1 that OMSZ would make additional ambulances available in every county and Budapest for transporting patients with suspected coronavirus symptoms.