Hungarian Minister Tests Positive for Coronavirus in Bangkok

In this July 14, 2014 file photo Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

BUDAPEST (Xinhua) — Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto has tested positive for COVID-19, the press service of his office said Wednesday.

“After visiting Cambodia, the minister went on to Thailand, and he tested positive after arriving in Bangkok,” Mate Paczolay, chief of the ministry’s press office, told Hungarian news agency MTI.

“In accordance with local regulations, Szijjarto is currently in a hospital in Bangkok and, since his asymptomatic, negotiations on his repatriation have begun,” said Paczolay.

Szijjarto tested negative just before leaving Hungary for Asia, said Paczolay, adding that upon his return, the minister would be quarantined.

Szijjarto is the second minister of the Hungarian government to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

On Oct. 20, Hungarian Minister of Justice Judit Varga tested positive for COVID-19. She has since fully recovered and returned to her duties.

Hungary’s coronavirus cases have risen sharply since late August. The country’s total COVID-19 cases topped 10,000 on Sept. 10, 50,000 on Oct. 21, and 80,000 on Nov. 2.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pledged to procure COVID-19 vaccines, which he said would be made available to all citizens who want it.

Orban said his administration was engaged in talks on purchasing vaccines from China and Russia, adding that Hungary could have access to two to three different vaccines by the spring.