The duty of hospital commanders is to help health care institutions with ensuring that the necessary capacities are available and to provide for the security of equipment and supplies, the deputy of the national police chief-national chief hospital commander said at the Operational Group’s Monday online press conference.

Zsolt Halmosi added that the purpose of the appointment of hospital commanders was to enable health care institutions to prepare for the next phase. He said in the event of the availability of limited capacities, lives could depend on the accuracy of the information regarding supplies and human resources due to possible regrouping measures. Validating and continuously monitoring all relevant data is a priority responsibility of hospital commanders.

He highlighted that hospital commanders are not allowed to state opinions, make recommendations or adopt decisions on medical issues.

Their duty is to ensure the availability of the stocks and protective supplies necessary for the maintenance of smooth medical activities and to guarantee the security of supplies and equipment, he observed. He also said hospital leaders are obliged to obey the instructions of hospital commanders in two areas: issues regarding the security of assets and compliance with disease control regulations.

He said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán appointed hospital commanders to the heads of 108 health care institutions. It is their responsibility to ensure that if any shortage emerges at a given health care institution, they should notify the competent agencies thereof, and they will be given help through the National Corps.

Mr Halmosi said observing the disease control regulations in health care institutions is paramount, and hospital commanders are able to guarantee this with their personal presence and through inspections.

It is likewise not a secret that some supplies which were made available for curative purposes in Hungary did not reach the intended institution, he said, adding that protecting supplies and medical equipment is a key responsibility of hospital commanders.

At the online press conference, Róbert Kiss, a staff member of the duty centre of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus infection said the majority of members of the public have understood the government decree on restrictions on movement; however, the police have taken action against persons violating the restrictions on movement in 739 instances. He highlighted that 660 individuals have been cautioned, while in another 15 instances onsite fines have been imposed.

In answer to a question, he said, according to the Operational Group’s position, there is no need to change opening restrictions, for instance, in the case of markets. At the same time, they are asking people to adjust their shopping to the changed regulations.

He also said the police are continuing the monitoring of compliance with the more than 9,000 compulsory home quarantine orders; they have carried out more than 57,000 checks. Most people understood the Operational Group’s request regarding the observance of compulsory home quarantine; however, 163 persons violating the rules of compulsory home quarantine have been prosecuted, onsite fines have been imposed in 97 cases, and 14 persons have been cautioned.

He said the Operational Group is continuously analysing and evaluating the situation, and decided on Sunday that Hungary would join the European Commission’s civil protection mechanism. The purpose of this initiative is for the European Union to stockpile supplies necessary for containment and protective measures, and Member States which agree to stock supplies can request grants from the Commission.

Regarding border guarding, he highlighted that on the entry side there are delays only in cargo traffic at Röszke and Csanádpalota, while on the exit side in passenger traffic at Csanádpalota.

In answer to a journalist’s question regarding what warrants the presence of soldiers in the streets, he said the Hungarian Defence Forces are rendering a major service to the Hungarian people. They are helping the police with the protection of the borders and the enhancement of public safety in the county seats. Members of the public can meet not only soldiers in the streets, but also municipal wardens and neighbourhood watch personnel as in the present extraordinary situation, everyone needs help, Mr Kiss said, thanking those assisting the police for their work.

In response to a question about the possibility of the mass production of face masks in Hungary, he said the production of face masks has started in Hungary; face masks are being made in the sewing workshops of penal institutions around the clock. He added that raw materials sufficient for the production of 6.6 million masks had arrived from Turkey, from which 33,000 masks were being produced daily. He highlighted that the face masks made in Hungary, too, had been designed primarily for the purposes of health care workers.

(Ministry of Interior/MTI)