On 18 March 2020, Surgeon generalCecília Müller announced that the virus had spread to every part of the country. As of June 2021, Hungary has the second-highest COVID-19 death rate in the world.
Károly Papp, Director of Security Department of Interior Ministry,
János Balogh, National Police Leader, and the directors of National High Directorate of Disaster Management, Anti-Terrorism Center, Central Hospital of South Pest, National Healthcare Supplying Service and National Ambulance.
Staff has immediately announced its plan for security against the spread of virus. After detecting the virus in the country, they announced that operational staff would hold daily meetings at noon.
On 1 February, the spokesperson of National Command of Penalty Execution (BVOP) announced that prisoners of Debrecen and Sátoraljaújhely had started the production of sanitary masks. They produce 20000 masks daily in a 12-hour shift, which are stored in different repositories all around the country, and continually delivered to general practitioners.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the virus was concentrated in and around Wuhan. Seven Hungarians living in Wuhan, who wanted to move back to Europe, were transported through France and placed in quarantine for two weeks. They remained healthy during those two weeks and were released on 16 February.
Due to the events and news connected to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in February 2020, several goods—such as antiseptic arm cleaning materials, masks and non-perishable food – were in short supply in a lot of shops in Hungary. Tamás Schanda, strategical and political under-secretary of Innovation and the Science Ministry said "The Government understands the concerns of the people, but experts say it is unnecessary and pointless to hoard non-perishable food." The accumulation of goods declined quite quickly, and the detection of the virus in March did not cause measurable problems in shops.
The Government of Hungary launched its official webpage and official Facebook page about the novel coronavirus, both on 4 March 2020.
The first two known cases were students from Iran, who were studying in Hungary. One of them was enrolled at the Pharmacy Faculty of Semmelweis University. The student did not comply with the preventive measures required by the university as a precaution. He already visited his primary care physician and he was diagnosed with bacterial infection so that he didn't have to quarantine himself, and instead, he attended courses held in English with 16 other students. The other person studied at the Szent István University in Gödöllő, who after returning from Iran, went to a self-declared quarantine. He did not attend lectures at the university, but went to Saint Ladislaus Hospital, and declared that he had arrived from an infected territory.
Both of them were transported to Saint Ladislaus Hospital. They had mild symptoms. They arrived back in Hungary on 26 and 28 February 2020.
A third infection was announced on 5 March 2020. He was a 69-year-old British man who was working in Milan and travelled frequently between Milan and Debrecen. He developed a fever, so he visited his doctor. He was diagnosed and transported to Gyula Kenézy Hospital. Shortly after, the fourth infected had been announced. She was a girlfriend of one of the Iranian students that were first diagnosed. She was proactively isolated when the virus was diagnosed in the Iranians.
The fifth infected was identified on 7 March 2020, a 70-year-old man, who may have been infected by his son. The son previously visited some other countries, such as Italy.
The sixth and seventh infected persons were announced on 8 March 2020. They were exposed to the earlier diagnosed five infected persons. One of them was a friend of one of the Iranian students who was participating in a birthday party. The other was the Hungarian wife of the British man in Debrecen. The next day, two other people were found to be infected, and, like the previous day, one of the infected had also come in contact with the first infected Iranian student. The other one was the wife of the elder man who has been isolated. On 10 March 2020, three new cases were discovered with students related to the first infected Iranian student, so they had remained under quarantine. A day later, a Hungarian woman was announced as the 13th infected. She had come into contact with the first person isolated in Debrecen. Due to this she was hospitalised for several days.
The first death which may have been due to the coronavirus occurred on 11 March 2020. A 99-year-old woman was in hospital, where she was operated on at Saint Imre Hospital. After the successful operation, she had fever and pneumonia. Her daughter – who visited her regularly – got pneumonia the same day. Later, the daughter was diagnosed with COVID-19. Her mother was never tested and so not registered in connection with coronavirus.
Three new cases were reported on 12 March 2020. One was a student from Iran (a contact of the first case) whilst the other two were Hungarian citizens. One of the two Hungarians was a woman who had been in Saint Ladislaus Hospital for several days, the other one was a man travelling from Israel. On 12 March 2020, János Szlávik, head of Infectological Department of South Pest Center Hospital, confirmed that an Iranian citizen, held in quarantine, had recovered. All of his test results were negative.
On 13 March 2020, the number of known cases increased by 3, all of whom were Hungarian citizens. One of them, a 67-year-old man, had met several people from abroad in connection with his work. One other was a 41-year-old man, who had recently been in the Netherlands and England. The third one was a 27-year-old man, who had travelled to Israel with one of the already known infected people.
On 14 March 2020, 11 new people were diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total to 30; 6 were announced in the morning and 5 in the evening. All of the new cases were Hungarian citizens. The newly diagnosed patients include people who had been to Italy, and a person whose family member had returned from Austria.
On 15 March 2020, 2 more people had been diagnosed with COVID-19, for a total of 32. Both of these cases were Hungarian citizens.
On the same day, Sándor Szaniszló, the Mayor of Pestszentlőrinc-Pestszentimre announced the death of a patient at St Ladislaus Hospital who had been diagnosed with coronavirus. He is the first official victim of the pandemic in Hungary. He was a 75 years-old man who had died due to infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 sickness.
A second recovered patient had left the hospital on 16 March 2020, who was from Iran.
On 18 March 2020, 47 out of the 58 confirmed infected people were Hungarian, 9 Iranian, 1 British, and 1 Kazakh citizen.
On 19 March 2020, there were 9 Iranian, 1 British, 1 Kazakh, and 62 Hungarian infected; all together there were 73 cases. Six were in critical condition, and were in the Intensive Department of South Pest Center Hospital.
On 20 March 2020, there were 85 confirmed infected people: 10 Iranian, 1 British, 1 Kazakh, and 73 Hungarian citizens. Six of them were in critical condition, whilst 7 had recovered. On this day, three men, a 79, a 68 and a 53-year-old, had died of the 85 infected; the latter had multiple chronic diseases as well.
On 21 March 2020, the number of confirmed cases was 103: 10 Iranian, 2 British, 1 Kazakh, 1 Vietnamese, and 89 Hungarian citizens.
On 22 March 2020, the number of confirmed cases was 131: 10 Iranian, 2 British, 1 Kazakh, 1 Vietnamese, and 117 Hungarian citizens.
The number of infections reported from 26 November 2020 contains cases identified by quick tests conducted in mobile testing stations, ambulances, and among healthcare workers as well. The number of newly tested samples for 26 November contains both PCR tests and quick tests.