Hungarian authorities announced on Thursday, July 16, that national holiday celebrations scheduled for August 20 have been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The national holiday celebrates St. Stephen's Day and normally attracts tens of thousands of people to Budapest each year.
Most restrictions previously introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 have been lifted in Hungary. However, festivals and crowds of more than 500 people are not permitted until August 15.
Additionally, the Hungarian government implemented new restrictions on cross-border travel on Wednesday, July 15, following an increase in cases of COVID-19 in other countries. Authorities announced that selected countries will be divided into "red" or "yellow" categories. Foreign nationals arriving from a "yellow" country will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days on their arrival in Hungary, whilst those arriving from a "red" country will be denied entry. Hungarian nationals are permitted entry if arriving from a "red" country; however, two negative tests will be required before they may leave quarantine. "Yellow" states include Bulgaria, China, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, the UK, and the US. "Red" states include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Ukraine, in addition to a number of destinations in Africa, Asia, and South America.
As of Friday, July 17, health authorities have confirmed 4279 COVID-19 cases with 595 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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