COVID-19 - Frequently asked questions
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What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19?
By all means, stay at home. Do not go to your general practitioner, call them instead, they will ask you questions about your symptoms and your recent contacts and whether or not you have recently been abroad.
If based on the above you are likely to have COVID-19 and
- the symptoms are mild and you do not belong to any risk group therefore you do not need hospital treatment and you can self-isolate at home you will be placed in home quarantine. You will only be tested if the health services have the capacity to do so;
- the symptoms are severe (e.g. breathing difficulty, pneumonia) and/or you belong to a group at higher risk (eldery or with an underlying condition) or you are not able to self-isolate (because you look after to an elderly or ill person), your GP will call a special ambulance to take you to hospital.
Who will be tested for COVID-19?
It is mandatory to test suspected and probable cases if they end up in hospital or they are already there. If they are at home, the testing will depend on availability so they are not done automatically.
You are considered to be a suspected case if
- you have a fever of at least 38°C, OR you have a cough or difficulty breathing AND you have been abroad during the previous 14 days;
- You have a fever of at least 38°C, OR you have a cough or difficulty with breathing AND you have been in close contact with someone who probably or certainly has COVID-19 (you live in the same household or you spent more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 2 metres from the person in an enclosed space);
- You have a fever of at least 38°C AND you present at least one of the symptoms of a respiratory disease (e.g. cough, breathing difficulty, pneumonia) AND you need hospital treatment;
- You have the symptoms of a respiratory disease and the doctor or the authorities consider you a suspected case.
You are considered to be a probable case if you fulfill the criteria of a suspected case AND
- Your COVID-19 test results are not clear
- Your COVID-19 results come back positive.
What are the epidemiological measures?
First let’s see epidemiological measures that are related to a person suspected or known of having a contagious disease.
The following measures can apply to them:
- screening test for epidemiological purposes;
- epidemiological isolation;
- epidemiological monitoring and confinement;
- epidemiological inspection (not applied for coronavirus)
The above terms may seem quite similar in the everyday language – let’s see what they mean in a bit more detail.
Screening test for epidemiological purposes
It means the epidemiological testing of the entirety or groups of the population. These groups may entail to the population of a defined area, employees of a given workplace, persons arriving from abroad, or persons having previously been in contact with an already identified, contagious patient. These persons may be obliged to undergo tests.
The first signs of these measures can be already seen at the airports when everybody’s temperature is taken.
If someone opposes to the screening test, it can be officially ordered by the epidemiological authority, and the decision becomes enforceable immediately, regardless of us considering it unlawful or lodging an appeal.
It means the confinement of the contagious patient to their home or a hospital. Isolation is mandatory for those who are confirmed to suffer from coronavirus. In this case, the separation takes place in assigned inpatient wards, and in the Central Hospital of South Pest, in the rooms assigned for this purpose.
Those who have been in contact with a person infected by coronavirus, and are therefore probably in the incubation period, must be under epidemiological monitoring. The same applies for those who have been in close contact with coronavirus infected patients (with their respiratory exudate). The monitoring lasts 14 days. The method of epidemiological monitoring (isolation at home or epidemiological confinement if needed) is defined with regard to the individual circumstances of the contact person by which the further transmission of the disease can be prevented. If clinical symptoms appear during this period, further examination of the patient is required.
A more severe form of epidemiological monitoring is epidemiological confinement that is executed in an area explicitly delimited for this purpose.
This measure can be taken into consideration only in case of salmonella typhi disease, it remains irrelevant for the new coronavirus.
An epidemiological inspection can take place if a pathogen can be found in someone, but they do not suffer from the symptoms of the disease; in this case they are considered asymptomatic carriers. They can infect others therefore epidemiological measures can apply to them too.
Asymptomatic carriers can be limited in exercising their profession, their right to maintain relations, and their freedom of movement.
It means that an asymptomatic carrier
- is obliged to periodically undergo medical examination;
- is obliged to report if they leave their home for a period longer than two weeks;
- cannot enter childcare (nursery, kindergarten) and educational institutions;
- cannot be employed in child protection, educational and social institutions, by health service providers, furthermore in any food production, processing, packaging, selling, and drinking-water supplying positions.
Certain epidemiological measures apply not to a single person but to larger group of patients. Here we can find rules that apply to territorial quarantine. In case of a potential risk of an epidemic or during an ongoing epidemic, the following can be limited or prohibited:
- the operation of all institutions, furthermore events and activities that can foster epidemic spread;
- the personal, livestock or goods movement between certain areas;
- for the population of a certain area to get in contact with the population of other areas;
- to visit hospitals;
- to leave certain areas;
- to sell and consume certain foods;
- to consume drinking-water.
In case of the risk of an epidemic or an epidemic, the operation of nurseries, kindergartens, schools can be suspended; other community institutions also may close, and events might be forbidden to take place. The limitation of operation and closure of hospital wards also can be ordered. Besides, public transportation also can be limited or forbidden.
Who can order epidemiological measures?
Basically, the Chief Medical Officer. Local measures can be taken by capital or county government offices, and by district offices. Individual measures can be taken even by a doctor.
Am I obliged to submit myself to epidemiological measures?
Yes. Epidemiological measures are mandatory; therefore our approval is not needed, they can be executed even by limiting the freedom of the individual. The decision is immediately enforceable, if someone opposes, it can be enforced.
Do I have to give consent to all medical interventions, or am I allowed to refuse some?
You are only obliged to undergo interventions related to the epidemic. You can be required to undergo certain tests, give samples for virus breeding, or take medicine; but all these actions can only be undertaken in order to diagnose, treat and stop the epidemic. You are not obligated to subject to any other medical interventions.
From 18 June 2020 uniform protection measures were introduced nationally. The curfew has been lifted.
At present the following protection measures must be followed throughout the country:
Wearing masks (or other objects that cover the mouth and nose, such as a scarf, shawl, etc.) is mandatory:
- on public transport;
- in stores during purchase;
- for vendors in the closed rooms of catering shops.
Exception: Children under the age of 6 are not obliged to wear masks.
No more than 500 people can be at an event venue at the same time - the same rule applies indoors and outdoors.
As the emergency is over, in principle we have already returned from the special legal order to the normal legal order. Although not entirely: the amendment to the Health Act introduced a new category, the “health crisis”, which was immediately ordered by the government. Thus as of June 18 2020 there is a health crisis in Hungary linked with an epidemiological preparedness, which still grants the government numerous powers similar to those authorized during the emergency.
What restrictions can the government still impose?
Although by law the government can only impose restrictions or bans related to the prevention or combating of the epidemic, the health crises still allows the government to directly intervene in the lives of citizens over a fairly wide area.
The government may restrict or even ban the operation of any institution or all events and activities that may contribute to the spread of the epidemic. Such restrictions may be, for example, the ordering of the closure of schools and kindergartens.
The government can also restrict or prohibit:
- the operation and opening hours of shops;
- travel, transport or contact between residents within the country or between Hungary and another country;
- visits to health facilities, schools, social institutions, children's homes, libraries and similar places;
- leaving a certain area;
- the sale, consumption or purchase of certain foodstuffs and products;
- consumption of drinking water;
- and the keeping of certain animals.
The government can also establish special rules for medicines and access to health services, maintain the hospital command system and even extend it to nursing homes.
People can continue to create protective measures for social distancing and wearing protective equipment, and can set a separate time zone for shopping for either the elderly or others. Rules can be prescribed for schools and universities, and to restrict traffic and postal traffic.
As a bonus, the law also allows the government to use “other” provisions for any other matter not listed in the law.
It is important to know however that the government cannot introduce a general curfew - although we do not yet know how this will relate to regulations on leaving areas.
The legislation allows for the segregation of sick or potentially infected individuals. According to common parlance this separation is “quarantine,” which the legislation allows under several different names.
What specific epidemiological measure is involved and what it entails must always be clearly identifiable from the decision in which this epidemiological measure is ordered by the competent authority. Based on our experience with the coronavirus epidemic, we could consider from the many existing epidemiological measures the implications of the following three scenarios: epidemiological isolation, epidemiological closure and epidemiological surveillance. The previous measures have now been expanded with a fourth: the so-called official home quarantine.
With the advent of this new case, the relationship between each quarantine measure has changed and we do not yet know exactly how the new practice will evolve. At the same time we can conclude from the justification of the new regulation that with the newly introduced official home quarantine the legislator simply aimed to name the epidemiological measures already developed during the 2020 spring wave of the coronavirus. The expected development of the rules will follow with this regard.
Official home quarantine
Who orders official home quarantine?
It is ordered by the epidemiological authority which in practice means the provincial public health office (in Budapest, the district). If you have any questions or problems you have to contact this authority - their contact details will be included in the order decision form.
When can an official home quarantine be ordered?
Official home quarantine can be ordered in two cases:
- When someone travels to Hungary from a certain country. For information on this consult the section on Border Crossing, Departure and Entry.
- If someone has officially tested positive to being infected with coronavirus but their health condition does not require hospitalization.
I was ordered to quarantine myself - where should I stay?
A person who has been placed under official home quarantine may not leave the apartment assigned to them. The exact address the person will be assigned falls under the decision of the epidemiological authority based on epidemiological considerations - this means that if there are several options the authority takes into account which location provides the most protected and effective segregation. This home can be the person's home with a clearly fenced off yard or garden, but it can also be another place such as a holiday home, a friend's house or a rented apartment. The point is in the case of home quarantine you certainly don’t have to go to hospital or another place centrally designated for quarantine.
When is official home quarantine mandatory?
An official decision has to be made on the order, but the official home quarantine is mandatory from the moment the decision is communicated orally and you have to proceed directly to the specified address. When entering Hungary the decision can be communicated by the police officer (as they are the first official to be met when crossing the border), or in the case of infection or illness by any appointed health worker both via phone and email. The written decision can be sent later.
How long does official home quarantine last?
If someone travels to Hungary from certain foreign countries they will be placed in official home quarantine which will probably last for 14 days based on the current practice (our information on this is constantly updated). Isolation of patients lasts until recovery.
What does official home quarantine involve?
The decision will include the rules in detail, but essentially the point is that during official home quarantine the quarantined person can not leave the apartment and should not receive guests.
However, virtual communication cannot be limited! You can talk to anyone on the phone or on the internet and no one can have a say in what you share - freedom of speech and expression cannot be restricted on epidemiological grounds!
Can more people be in an apartment during official home quarantine?
Official home quarantine can only possibly be ordered in a place where healthy people are confined with the person concerned. It is possible for example that the family members of the quarantined person live in the home of this person, are healthy and have not recently travelled to Hungary from the countries listed. However it is still possible that the person concerned will be subject to quarantine in a home where these family members reside. There is really no alternative to official home quarantine as there is no capacity to isolate every possibly infected person. If the potentially infected people were isolated together in a designated place it would only heighten the chance of them all getting infected. If the authority takes the decision to quarantine a person in a home where family members habitually reside it really is necessary to live with the potential patient, in which case special care must be taken to avoid contact with them.
For example if this person's residence is also the home of an elderly or sick person, considered as a high-risk group, it is possible to request institutional placement instead of an official home quarantine.
The person I live with has been placed into official home quarantine. Do the quarantine rules apply to me?
The authority decides on the order of quarantine on individual cases for each person (unless entire buildings or even settlements are quarantined, but on this separate decision are made). The quarantine rules that have been ordered for a person living in a common household with us, do not apply to us. This means that others who are not quarantined can leave their homes. In the case where the infection of a person living in a common household with us is confirmed we will be considered contact persons and the authority will order quarantines for us, individually.
I don’t want to infect those who live with me, can I ask not to be quarantined at home?
Yes, in each case the epidemiological authority decides on the basis of individual circumstances who is to be quarantined where. This means that you may ask the authority to consider that in the case of home quarantine others might be potentially infected through you. A person must be quarantined in a hospital or other designated quarantine facility, if:
- they themselves are at heightened risk (eg they are elderly or suffer from chronic illness); or
- the person subjected to the order of home quarantine would have to live with a person at risk; or
- they need hospital treatment or would otherwise be unable to support themselves.
How can I be exempted from an official home quarantine already being ordered?
Exemption from official home quarantine may be granted by the body that ordered it. This body is the public health department of the district office which may change the rules of official home quarantine (for example, allow the person to leave the apartment at a certain time or allow the receiving of guests), but may even decide to end the mandatory official home quarantine before the officially declared end date. This is a conditional case which deserves special consideration, ensuring that the epidemiological safety measures can be ensured without the employment of official quarantine. So in order to be exempt from an official house quarantine already ordered it will not be enough to have urgent engagements (for example, having to attend an exam or a funeral), but if, for example, a test confirms that there is no contamination present and therefore quarantine measures are not necessary for ensuring epidemic safety measures there is a chance that the epidemiological authority will grant exemptions upon request.
If I am in official home quarantine, how do I get my groceries?
Quarantine is always ordered by individual decision. In such cases not only the person's condition is considered but also whether their care is provided. In cases where a person is not guaranteed to be able to provide for themselves they cannot be ordered for home quarantine. In this case the quarantine must be completed in a place designated for this purpose.
How do they check if I follow the rules of official home quarantine?
This is checked by the police on a random basis. The police automatically receive a decision from the epidemiological authority on the ordering of the official home quarantine and other epidemiological measures. It is for them to carry out the control tasks, which means that the competent police station always knows who is quarantined in their area of competence. If someone leaves the apartment during official home quarantine, in the case of a police ID check this would be revealed.
We also have the option to replace police control by installing a specific mobile app. You can install the software voluntarily. In this case, during the installation a photo must be taken which the application compares with our photos stored in different registers. After registration the person concerned is "obliged to cooperate and perform the operation of the software required by the police." This means that when the police send a notice we have to take a selfie within 15 minutes, based on which the face recognition program installed on the phone verifies our identity. The app also continuously transmits our location data to the police. The police can only check in person the user of the application if they suspect them of having violated the quarantine rules or if they do not use the app as instructed in due time. An important rule is that between ten in the evening and six in the morning, everyone can rest in peace, at which time no one is woken up to send a photo.
Quarantine in a designated place
Quarantine may take place in a hospital or in another establishment suitable for receiving potentially infected persons - if the specific circumstances of the person concerned and the prevention of the spread of the virus requires it quarantine must be carried out in a hospital or another establishment following the decision of the authority. In such cases, it must be ensured that those in quarantine can stay separately and in individual rooms. Quarantine must be carried out in an establishment designated for that purpose by the authority, taking into account both the individual situation of the potentially infected person and the capacity of the care system.
If not at home, can I only be quarantined in a hospital facility?
Quarantine is not just enforced in hospitals. The conditions necessary for the implementation of segregation can be provided in several ways in various buildings. After necessary transformations dormitories, mobile containers and other locations can also be used in health service. When ordering quarantine the authority takes into account both epidemiological and efficiency considerations. For this reason the authority does not necessarily designate the hospital for enforcement that is otherwise territorially competent nor might the location of the designated quarantine be relevant to the person's official address. As the authority is also obliged to consider individual circumstances in its decision, it is possible to request that family members are quarantined together for example or children are placed in institutions located closer to their parents. However efficiency considerations are paramount and the authority is not obliged to grant these requests.
Who is hospitalized?
Suspicious cases or cases under investigation, who
- are in a serious condition, and / or
- are at risk because of their age and other illnesses, and segregation cannot be granted in their home.
Those who are diagnosed with coronavirus infection in hospital are automatically isolated within the hospital.
Those for whom segregation at home cannot be guaranteed but whose condition does not justify hospital care may be segregated in other institutions designated for this purpose by the state.
What care is provided in the hospital?
In the case of an epidemiological segregation ordered in a hospital the institution must provide food and “health textiles,” which is some kind of pajama-like clothing.
What happens if I leave the ordered location?
If a person quarantined in a hospital or other place designated for quarantine leaves that location a patrol may be ordered to search and arrest them.
Travel to and from abroad
Hungarian and EU / EEA citizens and their family members are free to enter Hungary without any quarantine obligation.
A person who arrives in Hungary from a country / territory considered by the epidemiological authority to be at epidemic risk must be quarantined.
Who can freely enter Hungary?
The following persons can enter Hungary without a special permit and quarantine obligation:
- Hungarian nationals;
- EU or nationals of EEA member states (except: United Kingdom);
- persons who have the right to move and reside freely in an EU or EEA member states;
- are family members of the above.
The following are considered as family members:
- a minor child with the spouse (including an adopted or foster child);
- a dependent minor child of their own, who they exercise parental responsibility over (including an adopted or foster child);
- the spouse's dependent minor child of the person exercising parental responsibility over him or her (including the adopted or foster child);
- a person with parental custody over a minor Hungarian citizen, exercising parental custody, living in the same household as the Hungarian citizen.
Restrictions still do not affect freight traffic.
How can foreign nationals enter Hungary?
The following three groups of foreigners are distinguished:
- EU / EEA citizens: are free to enter, without any quarantine obligation;
- Citizens of countries with moderate entry restrictions: for a list of these see "From which countries can you travel to Hungary under moderate quarantine rules?"
- All other foreign nationals: essentially are not allowed to enter the country, but on request for fairness, the police might allow their entry.
An exception to the entry ban: the police may, based on a request for fairness, allow foreigners to enter, and also lay down specific rules of conduct. The leniency application must be submitted electronically, in Hungarian. It should set out the reasons for which it is seriously unfair and infringes their rights to refuse them entry.
For details on reasons for fairness, see the next section.
The persons that have been allowed to enter must undergo a medical examination at the border
- Those with the suspicion of being infected by coronavirus cannot enter Hungary.
- Anyone who is not suspected of being infected by coronavirus must undergo quarantine for 14 days.
The leniency application can be submitted on the website of the police via a personal client gateway or company gateway or failing that, on the police's own form-filling interface. The application can only be submitted electronically, in Hungarian.
You can find the forms on the police e-administration page.
What do the police consider when evaluating a foreigner's leniency application?
It is important to note again: EU / EEA citizens and those entitled to reside in the EU / EEA, as well as their family members, can travel to Hungary without restrictions. Leniency applications only have to be submitted by other foreign nationals, provided that there is no facilitation in the rules that allow them to enter (see "Who is automatically exempt from quarantine rules when crossing the border?")
The application is evaluated by the responsible police according to the place of the planned entry (in case of arrival at Ferihegy Airport the 18th district’s Budapest Police Headquarter / BRFK).
The following reasons are considered as "cases of exceptional circumstances”:
participation in a court or official act in Hungary, which must be substantiated by an appropriate document;
- business activity or other employment certified by an invitation letter from a central government administration body, an independent regulatory body or an autonomous state administration body;
- access to health care with a referral from a health care institution or other with other relevant certificate;
- fulfillment of study or exam related obligations on the basis of student or learning status, if this is approved by a certificate issued by the educational institution;
- passenger travel in connection to carriage, if the purpose is to reach the place of departure of the carriage task (the place of commencement of work) or to return home after such work, if this is approved by a certificate issued by the employer;
- attending family events (eg. marriage, baptism, funeral);
- the care of a relative according to Civil Code Art. 8 (cf. Section 8: 1 (1) 2);
- participation in an internationally relevant, major cultural, religious or sport event.
In addition, it is possible to indicate "other" reasons. Below we cover what we know are considered as such reasons.
Based on the previous information released by the police, we suppose that the leniency application was submitted in the interest of keeping families together, approval will be granted to non-Hungarian citizens who:
- habitually reside in Hungary with their Hungarian relatives,
- have a Certificate of domicile in Hungary, and
- agree to undertake a two-week home quarantine upon entry.
Foreigners who have a residence permit and a Certificate of domicile can also be exempted.
In addition, in our experience, it may be useful to prove the existence of an employment relationship in Hungary and a brief description of the consequences of non-entry (for example, if there is no place to go due to flight cancellations or other circumstances). The success of a leniency application can be aided by any document that substantiates the facts presented, such as:
- photograph of the Certificate of domicile,
- any document proving the family relationship - in the case of an unregistered partnership, description of the circumstances of the cohabitation and the duration of the relationship,
- the employer can write a letter stating their need of the employee that has been denied entry, with the attachment of the employment contract.
While there is no internal deadline for processing leniency applications, according to the ORFK's report, applications must be processed immediately.
When should leniency applications be rejected?
- If it is suspected that the applicant has not indicated an existing reason for entry;
- if, upon entry, the applicant refuses to present the document proving the reason for entry or if its authenticity raises doubts;
- for reasons of epidemiological, public security or national security.
Who can I turn to (appeal) against the rejection?
To the county (capital) police headquarters that have refused the application.
Who is automatically exempted from quarantine rules when crossing the border?
A.) Japanese and South Korean nationals in business matters involving related companies. If they travel between affiliated enterprises and are employees or senior executives of one of the enterprises. Upon entry, it must be probable that the entry is for business purposes.
B.) Migrant workers employed in the agricultural sector. Specifically persons from neighboring countries who travel to meet the labor needs of the agricultural sector (TEÁOR and TESZOR 01, 02 and 03) and are nationals of the neighboring state.
C.) Some countries have less stringent quarantine rules than the general rules, or require no quarantine at all. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of the Internal Affairs jointly decide from which country they grant relief. The list of countries and exemptions is constantly increasing, see "From which countries can you travel to Hungary under milder quarantine rules?" section!
From which countries can you travel to Hungary and return home under mild quarantine rules?
The obligation to quarantine for Serbian and Hungarian citizens has ceased if they enter Hungary from Serbia.
Anyone that detects symptoms of coronavirus within 14 days of entry must notify the epidemiological authority (which is the local government agency) and may not leave their place of residence. If the disease is found to be an acute respiratory infection with cough, shortness of breath, or fever of at least 38 ° C, the affected person will be quarantined by the epidemiological authority.
Ukrainian citizens can enter Hungary within the band of 30 km form the border.
EU / EEA nationals are free to enter and have no quarantine obligations.
Although not necessarily mentioned in the relevant regulations, anyone who becomes ill within 14 days after returning from travel abroad and shows symptoms implying infection with coronavirus must be quarantined.
What are the requirements for the leniency application?
The leniency application can be submitted on the police website through a customer gateway or company gateway or failing that, on the police's own form-filling interface. The application can only be submitted electronically, in Hungarian.
You can find the forms on the police e-administration page.
The application may also be submitted through a legal representative or authorized representative. In the latter case, the power of attorney must be included in a private document of full probative value (such as a statement signed by two witnesses). The same proxy may submit the application on behalf of several persons, if the entry takes place at the same time and the reason for entry corresponds, however, in the present case a separate authorization must be obtained from each of them.
Close relatives may submit a joint application if they cross borders at the same time for corresponding reasons. In this case, one of them submits the application and obtains the authorizations as referred to above.
The application must specify the circumstances that merit special consideration and state which identity document will be used to cross the border. The document identification number must also be provided. The application must be accompanied by:
- a copy of the document by which we wish to justify the reason for special consideration (where possible);
- power of attorney if the application is submitted by proxy.
An application that does not comply with the substantive or formal requirements, in particular if the application is submitted in a language other than Hungarian, incomplete, does not contain or refer to the reason for a fair assessment of the application, and does not include a power of attorney in case the application is submitted through representation, will be automatically rejected.
Anyone who encloses a copy of a document with their leniency application is obliged to present the original document at the request of the police officer when crossing the border.
Who orders quarantine and how?
Ordering quarantine is a two-step process:
- Once we have crossed the border, the police will order, as a temporary measure, that we go to the address we have given and wait there for the decision of the epidemiological authority to order quarantine.
- The decision usually arrives within a short period of time (although it may be a few days) and informs which day we are required to remain in quarantine until, that is always the 14th day after entry.
It follows from the above that:
- the day of entry does not count towards the quarantine deadline, but we are already obliged to go to the quarantine site and stay there - it is realistic to calculate being in quarantine for 15 days in total, including the day of our arrival;
- if an application for a quarantine exemption has been submitted, this can be considered by the police until the epidemiological authority issues a decision;
- once the quarantine has been ordered by the epidemiological authority that authority may be asked to lift it.
How can I presume that my application will be considered positively?
This is difficult to predict, as police practice is unpredictable in several respects. Based on our experience to date, the processing of applications has been inconsistent in the following areas:
- In certain cases, the leniency application was accepted in advance, while others were told that the leniency application could only be done once they have reached the border;
- There was also a case of the police rejecting an application because it was not submitted 7 working days before entry - this means it is almost impossible to predict when is the most appropriate date of submission;
- The speed of decision making also varies, ranging from a few hours to several days. The time of the evaluation depends largely on the capacity of the police;
- The form filler on the police website does not always work, and there has also been a case where the application was rejected because it was not submitted through a customer gateway by the applicant. Therefore, for those who have the opportunity we recommend using the customer gateway;
- If the quarantine authority has already issued the quarantine order, the police will usually reject the ongoing leniency application.
What address can I identify at the border as the designated place to spend the 14-days quarantine?
At border crossing any address can be identified as a designated place to the police. This will be forwarded to the locally competent epidemiological authority. However, it is our responsibility to be available at this address at all times when the police are checking for compliance with quarantine. We should only identify an address where we can actually spend 14 days. However, this does not have to be a registered address and is not subject to any other restrictions. However, it is worth obtaining a statement of consent if we were quarantining at someone else's address.
Can I retrospectively ask to move to quarantine at another location or be exempted from quarantine?
For epidemiological reasons relocation is possible (for example in cases where the persons are in quarantine with a person at higher risk for severe illness) and exemption is also available. To change the location of the quarantine, contact an epidemiological authority that has issued the decision about the quarantine: if the request to change the address is found justifiable for epidemiological reasons, a new decision will be delivered and a new residence will be identified.
It may be worth contacting the local police station that checks the implementation of the quarantine, i.e. if the police do not see any obstacle in relocating the quarantine, authorities also might positively evaluate the request.
Contacting the local police station might also be helpful: if we do not reside at the prior address upon police check, we might face the opening of an infringement procedure.
Retrospective exemption is authorized by the epidemiological authority; their decision is based on epidemiological discretion, having regard to all circumstances of the case. To the best of our knowledge, exemption can be granted if the person can provide a negative molecular biology test (SARS-CoV-2 test), no older than 4 days. However this is only one of the many aspects that are considered by the authority in granting exemption.
How long do I have to quarantine?
According to the regulation governing entry, for 14 days, but in practice this is more likely to be 15 days. This is because upon entering the country the police, as a temporary measure, immediately directs us to the place we identified as the place of home quarantine. We must reside there until the official notice. In our experience, the epidemiological authority, which is notified by the police that we have been added to the epidemiological register, sets the start of the 14-day quarantine deadline only the day after the day of our entry. Therefore the 14-day deadline should be counted as the day subsequent to the day of entry, not from the initial entry day. However, on the day of our entry we must already reside at the address we have identified as quarantine.
It is possible to be exempted from compulsory quarantine. For further information, consult the point "Is it possible to obtain exemption from quarantine after entering Hungary?".
Is it possible to obtain exemption from quarantine after entering Hungary?
Yes. Such an exemption should be obtained from the epidemiological authority ordering the quarantine. For more information, see chapter “Quarantine” of this guide.
How do I get to the place of quarantine? What should I do until I get there?
There are no restrictions about getting to the place of quarantine; this is possible by car, public transport, or, especially when arriving at the airport, by taxi, or by getting a lift from someone. This person should ideally be someone with whom you are going to spend quarantine together, although this is not obligatory. It is possible to take someone else to the place of quarantine, because pursuant to the decree on restriction of movement, “necessary business requiring personal presence”, and “providing help to a person in need” are possible.
Before arrival, especially if the journey is long, it is recommended to contact the competent police station, because if the police arrive for a check before you arrive you may be penalised.
How do the police check compliance with the rules?
The police visit the person’s home at random times, and checks if he or she is there. This is possible because the epidemiological authority automatically sends each home quarantine order to the police, so they are aware of who should be in quarantine where, and for how long. In addition, the police may request the person’s data and contact details from the epidemiological authority or from healthcare institutions, but the data request can only apply for data related to the epidemiological situation, not to any other medical information.
It is possible to have the police checks substituted by a mobile application (see the relevant decree here). Installation of the software is voluntary. In this case, when installing the app, you have to take a photo, which the application compares to your photos in other databases. After registration the person concerned “is obligated to cooperate and to perform the action prescribed by the police using the software”. This means that when the police send a notification you have to take a selfie, based on which the facial recognition programme installed on the phone verifies your identity. In addition to this, the app also forwards your data location to the police. The police may only check the person installing the application in person, if it is suspected that he or she may have broken the rules of quarantine, or is not using the app as required, on time.
Who takes care of those in home quarantine or in a designated quarantine?
This is the mayor’s task.
What is a home quarantine ordered by the authorities, and what is a designated quarantine?
Home quarantine ordered by the authorities is when someone must be quarantined in their home (place of residence or place of stay).
Designated quarantine is when the person is sent to an isolation hospital or other institution serving as quarantine by the epidemiological authority.
If you would like to learn more about rules on quarantine, refer to chapter “Quarantine” of our guide.
What actions are subject to sanctions regarding travel to Hungary?
Mainly the following qualify as breaches:
- a foreign person’s travel to Hungary without an approved leniency application;
- not showing the documentation supporting the reason for travel;
- non-compliance with the quarantine regulation;
- leaving the 30-kilometer lane next to the border provided for commuters, and exceeding the 24-hour stay in Hungary;
- non-compliance with the rules pertaining to the entry and stay of agricultural workers.
Is it allowed to leave Hungary?
Yes. For workers of certain sectors, this used to be subject to a permit, but now they are allowed to travel freely.
How are commuting workers affected by the entry rules?
The Ministers of Exterior and Interior may agree with the neighbouring countries that residents of these countries should be allowed to enter the 30-kilometer lane next to the border for a maximum of 24 hours.
Information about which border stations have been closed and which ones are open is available on the website of the police: http://www.police.hu/hu/hirek-es-informaciok/hatarinfo
As of the situation on 19 June 2020, the following rules apply to commuters from the neighbouring countries (see rules on other countries below):
Ukrainian citizens may enter the 30-kilometer lane next to the border.
What about cargo transportation?
The limitations do not apply to cargo transportation entering and leaving the country.
As a Hungarian citizen, how can I get information before going abroad?
On the website https://konzuliszolgalat.kormany.hu/, up-to-date information is available, broken down by country.
Information about which border stations have been closed and which ones are open are available on the website of the police:http://www.police.hu/hu/hirek-es-informaciok/hatarinfo
I'm stuck in airport transit. How can I get help with getting home?
You should turn to the consular service according to your nationality.
Which regulation can I refer to for the new provisions on border crossing?
Government Decree 291/2020 (VI. 16.) on the travel restrictions during the epidemiological preparedness period
The regulation changes frequently, so it is important to check if you are looking at the one in effect.