Hungary will remain closed for tourism for another 30 days, until at least November 1, 2020.
Last month on September 1st, Hungary suddenly re-closed their borders after being open to tourism for three months. A sudden surge in cases brought the government to make a quick and unexpected decision to re-seal the borders to most foreign arrivals.
Many expected the closure to be temporary and only last 30 days, but Hungary has in fact extended the closure for another month.
The earliest the nation will now reopen will be on November 1st, but if the situation does not show any signs of improving, the closure could be extended for a third time.
Prime Minister Gergely Gulyás said in a press conference on Thursday,
“the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is here with us,”
In fact, since Hungary re-closed the borders on September 1st, the case numbers have been growing at an exponential rate, much higher than originally influenced the closure in the first place.
In late August, new daily case numbers hit a high of around 150 per day, but now Hungary is seeing daily highs of over 1000 new cases.
“Looking at the numbers in Europe, Hungary is in the middle ranks in terms of number of infections, and continues to remain among the best in Europe as regards the number of fatalities. Every human life must be protected with any means necessary,”
– Prime Minister Gergely Gulyás
Hungary wasn’t completely alone in their decision to re-close borders after being open for tourism. Ukraine also re-closed their borders for 30 days, alongside Hungary’s announcement, due to a rise in cases they wanted to try and control. The difference now between Ukraine and Hungary is that Ukraine re-opened the borders again on September 28, resuming tourism once again. Hungary is making the opposite move and staying sealed for a while longer.
However, Hungary is still the first country in the Schengen zone to re-close their borders completely due to Covid-19. All other Schengen nations, despite having higher case numbers, have not implemented a re-closure as of yet.
Authorities in Hungary are not only barring incoming tourists for another 30 days, but the government advisory to discourage all citizens to not travel outside of the country is also remaining in place for another month, until at least November.
The World Health Organization has taken a stance on countries re-closing their borders, stating that bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders.
Exceptions to the Closure
There are still come exceptions to the closure that have been renewed, including:
General tourists and all non-essential foreign arrivals into Hungary will not be permitted. Here are some examples of exceptions to the entry ban:
- Hungarian citizens, residents and their spouses
- Travelers on diplomatic trips
- Military convoys
- Essential business travelers/workers
- Humanitarian corridor for essential transits through Hungary
- Foreign students with studies in Hungary
Which countries will be allowed when Hungary reopens again?
When Hungary reopened first for tourism in July they devised a color-coded light system that dictated which countries could enter, as well as the specific entry requirements assigned to each color.
Most EU nations were classified as ‘green’, which gave them unrestricted access to Hungary, while higher-risk nations like the USA and Russia were given ‘yellow’ status, which still permitted entry with a 14-day quarantine.
Strangely enough, Hungary did have a ‘red’ country list that completely banned nations like Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Ukraine, and other countries that had far more favourable case numbers than the USA or Russia.
It is unclear if the same color-coded light system will come back into effect if Hungary decides to re-open their borders again in November.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Article originally published October 4, 2020