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Hungary to close borders to foreigners on September 1

Budapest, Hungary – Hungary will close its borders to foreigners (non-residents only), including EU citizens, from September 1, Prime Minister Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas announced on Friday.

Hungarian citizens returning from abroad, for their part, will have to go into a two-week quarantine, or provide two negative COVID-19 tests.

“The number of infections has increased, and most of these originate from abroad”, Gergely Gulyas told reporters on Friday to explain the government’s decision to close the country’s borders, the same day Hungary reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases since the start of the epidemic.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, who himself just got out of self-isolation after being in contact with someone who tested positive, added that the Hungarian government was seeking to avoid reintroducing lockdown measures.

Although many EU member states have already started to restrict travel with countries considered “high-risk”, Hungary’s decision to completely shut down its borders to foreigners is to date one of the most drastic moves to curb the number of infections.

Hungary had more than 5,5100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases, while more than 600 people have died from the disease since March.

The fate of the UEFA Super Cup, pitting Champions League champions Bayern Munich against Europa League winners Sevilla, and due to be held at Budapest’s Puskas Arena after it was relocated from Portugal, remains uncertain.

The Hungarian government and UEFA are currently in talks to decide whether or not the match will be played behind closed doors, or if a limited number of fans will be allowed, under specific conditions, to travel to Budapest and attend the game, planned for September 24.

Coordinated by Ábel Bede, Kafkadesk's Budapest office is made up of a growing team of freelance journalists, editors and fact-checkers passionate about Hungarian affairs and dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, events and insights from Hungary.