Hungarian authorities have made the decision to impose new travel restrictions on international travelers and tourists as the rest of the EU and Schengen are attempting to open.
The decision comes as an attempt by the Hungarian government to stop the spread of COVID-19 into Hungary from outside sources, according to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas.
Gulyas stated that “these restrictions serve to protect our freedom,” but that the Hungarian government must do everything they can to ensure that the COVID-19 virus does not regain traction in the country.
Hungary is today among the safest countries in Europe. But given new outbreaks around the world, the government is putting the health and safety of Hungarians foremost and is doing everything possible to prevent the virus’s return,” Gulyas said. He continued, “The better we are able to protect our borders and restrict entry to the country, the better we can uphold the conditions for a safe and free life in Hungary.”
Under the new restrictions, countries can be classified as “yellow” or “red” based on their infection rates and responses to the virus.
Although foreign nationals are still somewhat permitted to enter, the country from which they come will be the determining factor of whether they will be allowed to enter.
Foreign nationals coming from “yellow” classification countries will be obligated to undergo mandatory health checks at the Hungarian border and a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of the health check results. The only exception to this rule is if the entrant has had two negative COVID-19 tests from the previous 5 days.
Foreign nationals coming from “red” classification countries will not be allowed to enter at all.
Hungarian nationals entering their country will also have to undergo mandatory health checks and 14-day quarantines upon entry.
Countries classified as “red” include but are not limited to Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and neighboring Ukraine.
Countries classified as “yellow” include but are not limited to Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Transit and cargo trips as well as business travel are exempt from the new regulations, however, health checks can still be conducted.
The new restrictions could last for the foreseeable future, as it has not been explicitly stated when they will end.