The Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency as a protective measure against the coronavirus, Gergely Gulyas, the Hungarian prime minister’s office chief, announced in Budapest on Wednesday. The government has put a ban on any indoor events attended by more than 100 people and any outdoor events attracting a crowd of over 500 people. Although universities will be closed because of the spreading coronavirus, schools and shopping centres will remain open for the time being. The Hungarian government is monitoring the situation and will take additional steps if necessary, Mr Gulyas said.Using its constitutional mandate, the Hungarian government has declared a national emergency to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Gergely Gulyas, the Hungarian prime minister’s office chief announced in Budapest on Wednesday, the V4 news agency reported.

Any indoor event that would be attended by more than one hundred people must be cancelled and sporting events must be held behind closed doors, Mr Gulyas said, adding that the government will also issue a decree on the closure of universities later on Wednesday, deemed necessary because of the high number of foreign students there. However, the country’s primary and secondary schools, as well as the kindergartens will not be closed and, at least for now, the government leaves that decision to the municipalities, the minister said.

At the press briefing the premier’s office chief underlined that Hungary was in constant communication with other EU countries, especially with neighbouring Austria and Slovenia.

Gergely Gulyas stressed that no one would be allowed to enter Hungary’s territory from Italy, China, Iran and South-Korea, adding that border checks will be reinstated on the Slovenia-Hungary and Austria-Hungary borders. Train and bus services, as well as air traffic will also be suspended from the above-mentioned countries. The minister noted that the travel ban would take effect Wednesday at midnight the latest. He said only Hungarian citizens would be allowed to enter the country while the entry of dual citizens would be subject to individual assessments.

Responding to a journaist’s question, Gergely Gulyas said the government had made timely arrangements regarding the procurement of medical face masks, adding that more than 60,000 special masks are available, which will be transferred to the institutions treating patients with the new virus. In Hungary, researchers can rely on 37 state-run laboratories to examine the samples. If needed, the government would also be able to involve private laboratories in the process, to prevent the spreading of the virus, the minister said.