Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs Peter Szijjarto was tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival in Thailand. Both Thai and Hungarian officials confirmed the news on Wednesday.
Hungary’s top diplomat was tested positive for the coronavirus while and all 12 officials from his delegation got no infection. Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Peter Szijjarto arrived in Thailand from neighbouring Cambodia, AP News reported.
To avoid inaccuracy, the foreign minister was tested twice. After he was tested positive, Hungarian top diplomat was sent to Thailand’s Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute for treatment pending his planned evacuation later Wednesday by plane back to his homeland.
The 42-year-old Peter Szijjarto will now return on one plane and the other members of his party in a separate aircraft, Anutin said.
According to the preliminary schedule, the Hungarian officials planned to spend two days in Thailand. The visit aimed at strengthening ties, especially in trade matters. The Hungarian delegation led by the foreign minister was to pay a courtesy call on Thai PM Prayuth Chan-Ocha and meet with Szijjarto’s Thai counterpart, Don Pramudwinai, but all their appointments were cancelled due to infection.
Hungary’s foreign minister could get COVID-19 in Cambodia
Officials at Hungary’s embassy in Bangkok could not immediately be contacted for further details, however, the chief press officer for Hungary’s foreign ministry, confirmed that Szijjarto had tested negative before leaving last month for his Asian trip.
On his one-day visit to Cambodia, Szijjarto officially opened a satellite office of Hungary’s embassy in neighbouring Vietnam and signed economic cooperation agreements covering water management, agriculture and air services.
Cambodia sees Hungary as one of its closest allies in Europe. Both Asian nations have strongman rulers who are at odds with liberal Western nations.
Cambodia has expressed gratitude for Hungary’s dissent from the decision by the European Union, of which Hungary is a member, to cut trade privileges for Cambodia. The EU took the action earlier this year after judging that Hun Sen’s government failed to respect labour and democratic rights.