The Romanian and Hungarian Interior Ministers, Marcel Vela and Sándor Pintér, discussed via telephone the travel restrictions for foreign nationals imposed by Hungary last week. Hungary accepted Romania’s proposal of opening four additional border-crossing points between the two countries, so a total of 12 border-crossing points can be used by Romanian citizens.
Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, announced during a press briefing on Friday that Hungary will close its borders to non-residents for a month starting on September 1 due to the increasing number of new coronavirus cases in Europe and Hungary. As Gergely Gulyás explained, most of the new infections are of foreign origin, so they decided to re-introduce the border protection measures that had been in force during the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic. The government decree, issued by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, was published Sunday in the official gazette, Magyar Közlöny.
According to the decree, Hungarians returning from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days or produce two negative tests taken two days apart. Foreign nationals with permanent Hungarian residency (and their close family members) as well as those who hold a residence permit for more than 90 days are treated the same way as Hungarian citizens. But for all other foreign citizens, the Hungarian borders are closed. Exceptions to the ban will be made for foreigners on official business, those certified to receive healthcare, students with proof of student status, truck drivers returning home, visitors taking part in family events such as weddings, and participants of international sporting, cultural, or religious events, Hungary Today wrote.
The decree also states that the citizens of neighboring countries and Hungarian citizens living there may enter the territory of Hungary, but only for 24 hours, and they cannot travel more than 30 km from the border.
Hungary is also facing an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Last week, for the first time since mid-June, the number of active cases in the country increased to over 1,000, while over the weekend, almost 300 new cases were reported. According to the latest published data, from Sunday to Monday, 178 new coronavirus cases were registered in Hungary, taking the total number of infected to 6,139.
Romanian Interior Minister Marcel Vela discussed the border-crossing restrictions with Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér on Monday. On the proposal of Romania, four additional border-crossing points will remain open for Romanian citizens, in addition to the eight originally announced.
According to a press statement released by the Romanian Interior Ministry, the following border points are open for the transit of Romanian nationals:
– Pete (Petea in Romanian) – Csengersima: international transit of people and goods;
– Csalános (Urziceni) – Vállaj: international transit of people;
– Érmihályfalva (Valea lui Mihai) – Nyírábrány: international transit of people and goods;
– Bors (Borş) – Ártánd: international transit of people and goods;
– Gyulavarsánd (Vărşand) – Gyula: international transit of people and goods;
– Tornya (Turnu) – Battonya: international transit of people and goods;
– Nagylak I (Nădlac I.): international transit of people and goods;
– Nagylak II. (Nădlac II.) motorway – Csanádpalota: international transit of people and goods;
– Nagycsanád (Cenad) – Kiszombor: also for the transit of cross-border workers;
– Kürtös (Curtici) – Lőkösháza: railway traffic;
– Székelyhíd (Săcuieni) – Létavértes: all types of traffic;
– Nagyszalonta (Salonta) – Méhkerék: also for the transit of cross-border workers.
The two interior ministers also agreed that they will open the Bors II border-crossing point as soon as possible; it will be inaugurated on September 4, 2020. On the proposal of Marcel Vela, the two ministers agreed to hold a meeting at the end of September to discuss bilateral relations as well.
Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced Sunday evening on B1 TV that the government will extend the state of alert on September 15.
The Prime Minister also said that they are already discussing the safety measures for the municipal elections, scheduled for September 27. Ludovic Orban mentioned as an example that it had been decided that polling stations would be arranged in more spacious halls.
According to the latest report of the Strategic Communication Group (GCS), the total number infected with coronavirus in Romania reached 87,540 on Monday. From Monday to Tuesday, 755 new cases were registered, and there were 43 fatalities, taking the death toll to 3,621.
Title image: The Romanian Interior Ministry says international freight traffic will not be restricted. Photo: Romanian Border Police Facebook page