Hungary using flimsy excuse to seal its borders?

Hungary issued a ban preventing most foreigners from entering the country on Tuesday, citing rising Covid-19 infection rates. After fierce protests, travellers from the three other Visegrád states, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, were exempted from the ban. Not only the EU but also commentators criticise the border closure.

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Sme (SK) /

Political isolation from the EU

Hungary's attitude has nothing to do with health policy, Sme fumes:

“The Iron Curtain on Hungary's borders which Prime Minister Viktor Orbán proclaimed on September 1 is the most radical measure against peace ever taken in Europe under the pretext of the threat of a second coronavirus wave. It is certainly true that certain precedents were set in the first wave. However, back then the partial or total closure of borders was justified by the situation in Italy and Spain, particularly since little was known about the virus at the time. Today there is no epidemiological reason to restrict freedom of movement. The exception for the Visegrád states has all the characteristics of yet another of Orbán's political and symbolic projects: to define the V4 as an alternative to 'Brussels'.”

444 (HU) /

Hygiene and social distancing far more effective

Other steps would be more effective, health expert Zsombor Kunetz points out on 444:

“The border closure can hardly be understood as an epidemiological measure, since the really serious problem isn't the introduction but the spread of the virus within the country. ... The first thing to do is to adopt measures that really help to stem the spread of the pandemic. This includes stricter control of compliance with social distancing, wearing masks in closed rooms, and hand hygiene rules. All these measures should of course be accompanied by far more tests. If the government were to take these truly effective measures, the border closure could well prove unnecessary.”