The measures focus first on the country's borders and Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, Pintér said. Hungary has sufficient supplies of protective gear such as face masks and gloves in stock, he said.

Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler told the committee that both his ministry and the operative board set up to coordinate the steps "have been prepared for all possible circumstances from the first moment". Kásler said that as of now the "panic" surrounding the disease is "a considerably bigger problem" than the virus itself, noting that it has not yet been detected in Hungary.

The top priority is to prevent it from entering the country, he said. If the virus were to be detected, South Pest Central Hospital and other institutions were prepared. The ministry had prepared a protocol to be implemented and had sent it to hospitals, general practitioners, local councils and district government offices.

Kásler said the ministry updates its national pandemic preparedness plan on an annual basis, and there were enough respiratory machines and other equipment on hand. He said there are 1.2 million face masks available which will be distributed nationwide.

State secretary for communications and international representation Tamás Menczer said the foreign ministry knows of two Hungarian citizens in China locked down because of coronavirus, neither of whom want to leave the country. He said there are currently 197 Hungarians in China, and the Hungarian embassy is in constant contact with them all.

As regards three Hungarians working aboard a cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan, Menczer said they are all healthy and in contact with the Hungarian embassy in Tokyo. A total of 61 people on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, he noted.

Also, one Hungarian is being treated in hospital in the Philippines. A sample taken from the patient is being tested in Manila, Menczer said. The person's symptoms had eased. Another Hungarian had to be examined in Vietnam but doctors believed that person's symptoms had been caused by a bacterial infection.


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