Budapest, Hungary – Only a few days after two Iranian students diagnosed with coronavirus were expelled from Hungary, the Interior Ministry announced that another thirteen of them would also be evicted from the country for allegedly breaching quarantine regulations.
The thirteen Iranians had been quarantined at Budapest’s St. Laszlo hospital but “had left their rooms and behaved aggressively towards health staff”, according to a government statement.
Only a few days ago, two 23-year-old students from Iran – one of the main hotspots of the outbreak outside of China – were expelled from the country for the exact same violations: leaving the quarantine hall without permission nor the appropriate protective clothing, and for allegedly acting aggressively towards the nurses and medical staff who had placed them into isolation.
Both have also been barred from entering the country for three years.
The opposition has criticized the rhetoric used by Prime Minister Viktor Orban who, after Hungary’s first cases of Covid-19 infection were confirmed among Iranian students, was quick to link the spread of the virus to illegal migration.
“Our experience is that primarily foreigners brought in the disease, and that it is spreading among foreigners. It’s no coincidence that the virus first showed up among Iranians”, Orban commented.
Anna Julia Donath, MEP and vice-chair of the opposition Momentum party, promptly fired back on Twitter: “The government didn’t lose a second to push anti-immigration propaganda, stigmatize and spread some more xenophobia […] Maybe we need a bit more handwashing and a bit less brainwashing”.
All the Iranian students hospitalized for the coronavirus have come to Hungary legally.
At the time of writing Hungary had confirmed 58 cases of coronavirus. One infected patient has died and two have recovered from the illness.
Main photo credit: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA