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Hungary introduces border restrictions

September 1st, 2020

As the government announces tough border restrictions, pundits across the political spectrum wonder if Hungary can avoid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

As new coronavirus cases rose, the Hungarian government announced on 28 August a drastic restrictions on border crossings in order to reduce the likelihood of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. From 1 September, with certain exceptions, non-Hungarian citizens cannot enter Hungary, and Hungarian citizens returning will face a 2-week quarantine unless they present two negative coronavirus tests, carried out in Hungary. On Sunday, the number of newly infected individuals identified in a day rose to 292 – higher than any time so far.

On 444.hu, Zsombor Kunetz criticizes the government for closing Hungary’s borders. The liberal columnist writes that patients in Hungarian hospitals are more likely to get infected with the coronavirus than those traveling abroad. Kunetz suggests that the government announced the border restrictions in order to suggest that the pandemic is an external threat, and Hungarians are somehow not responsible for spreading it. Kunetz also speculates that the measures are intended to punish Budapest, as the part of the country most dependent on tourism. Taken all together, Kunetz predicts that the restrictions will not stop the contamination, but will harm Hungary.

In Portfolio, Gergely Ciki and József Hornyák think that in addition to curtailing border crossings, the government should introduce further internal restrictions in order to save the Hungarian economy. Unless Hungarians take containment measures very seriously, the virus will spread rapidly, the financial analysts contend. They call on the government to introduce smaller restrictions quickly – rather than wait until the whole country needs to be locked down and the economy halted again.

Pesti Srácok’s Bálint Botond praises the government for its coronavirus measures. The pro-government commentator believes that Hungary could control the spread of the virus better than most European states due to Hungary’s “closed society” norms. Botond calls on Hungarians to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures to keep the virus at bay.

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