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16 Mar 2020 | 11:06 AM UTC

Hungary: Government closes borders to all foreigners over COVID-19 concerns March 16 /update 2

Hungary closes borders to all foreigners over COVID-19 concerns March 16; nonessential businesses to close and large events canceled



On Monday, March 16, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that Hungary will close its borders to foreign travelers to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19); Hungarian nationals will still be allowed to cross the frontier. Prime Minister Orban also announced that all shops except for food stores, pharmacies, and drug stores will be closed and all cultural and sports events will be postponed. Restaurants will be required to closed at 15:00 (local time).

To date, there have been more than 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, including at least one associated fatality. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.


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.