Corona and Democracy - Hungary

On this page, we are collecting information on the effects of the measures taken to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus on democracy in Hungary.


Information on COVID-19 measures and democracy

Type of measures Measures & sources
Limitations to freedom of movement
  • Leaving residences is only allowed for work and broadly defined basic needs.
  • Everyone must keep 1.5m distance from strangers at all times, including on public transport.
  • Those above 65 can only visit groceries stores, markets and pharmacies between 9 am and 12 am, citizens below that age are only allowed in these establishments outside of these hours.
  • After 3 pm only grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations and tobacco stores may remain open. These rules can be prolonged indefinitely by the government.
  • A curfew was imposed on 28 March and will last until at least 11 April.
  • Crossing the border is only allowed for Hungarian nationals.
  • Schools and universities are closed indefinitely.
  • Flouting quarantine regulations is punishable by up to 3 years jail time.

   9 April:

  • The government extended indefinitely the nationwide lockdown.

   30 April:

  • Begin easing restrictions in Hungary, restrictions would be eased in Budapest from 18 May.

28 May:

  • Interior spaces of restaurants and outdoor events in Budapest to reopen

3 July:

  • Government official announces that migration routes will be closed off in an effort to prevent further waves of migration
Limitations to electoral rights
  • Elections and referendums are postponed and will be held within 15 days of the end of the state of emergency.
Limitation to civil rights
  • 15 Iranian students have been expelled from Hungary after testing positive for the virus and are denied reentry for 3 years. They were in the country legally.
  • Report of Roma community being discriminated by the coronavirus measures on the social, health and economic side.
Risks to data security
  • Hungarian government suspended certain rights under the EU's data protection rules until the end of the state of emergency. For example, the right to access personal data, the right to not be subjected to profiling or the right to be forgotten.
Limitations to freedom of information
  • Individuals who publish "false or distorted facts" that alarm or agitate the public, or undermine its “successful protection”, now face 1 to 5 years in jail. This change to the penal code is permanent.
Emergency powers for government
  • On March 11 a state of emergency was declared, during this time the government can rule by decree. Usually, prolonging the state of emergency must be approved by parliament after 15 days.
  • On 31 March, the parliament passed a bill to extend the state of emergency indefinitely. This means that the government can rule by decree on matters related to "people’s health, legal security and economic stability" for an undefined period of time.
  • The government can prolong previously introduced epidemic-related amendments to the constitution for "the duration of the emergency"

27 May:

  • The government submitted two draft bills to end the state of emergency and terminate the controversial powers it had been attributed

29 May:

  • Special legal order is to be lifted

16 June:

  • State of danger is terminated
Corona laws - full text
  • Hungarian Justice Minister Varga explains the state of emergency
Last updated on 14.07.2020

Please note that we are constantly updating the information under rapidly changing circumstances, the information on this page should not be taken to be a complete overview of measures in a country. 

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