Hungarian Olympic icon Katinka Hosszu alongside Iron Swim partners Máté Gelencsér and Tamás Batházi recently donated a total of 1.5 million Hungarian forints (roughly $4,500 USD) to the research of the novel coronavirus.
Iron Swim Budapest, not to be confused with the Budapest-based club Iron of the International Swimming League, is Hosszu’s club team and was named for her “Iron Lady” moniker.
Hosszu, Gelencsér, and Batházi donated the money on the recommendation of Iron Swim team doctor Dr. Béla Merkely. The 1.5 million forints pooled by the three swimmers was given to the Semmelweis University Foundation for research into the coronavirus.
Hosszu has recently posted several pictures to her Instagram of her indoors in relative isolation. Nine Hungarian National Team swimmers and staff members that recently attended a training camp, including 2019 World Champion Boglarka Kapas, recently tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the U.S. Department of State, there are 585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary with a total of 21 deaths. As of April 2, 2020, Europe contains nearly half-a-million confirmed cases with over 30,000 confirmed deaths. Italy and Spain have been hit the hardest with over 100,000 confirmed cases each. In Italy, the death toll due has surpassed 12,000.
The Hungarian government, meanwhile, has taken more extreme measures in order to deal with the crisis. On Monday, March 30th, the Hungarian Parliament passed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban the ability to rule by decree indefinitely. Included in the bill were measures to suspend parliament, harsh punishments for journalists if the government doubts the accuracy of their reporting of the coronavirus, and heavier penalties for violating quarantine regulations. Furthermore, no elections or referendums can take place while the decree stands.
Regarding journalism and individual speech, the bill states “a person who, during the period of a special legal order and in front of a large audience, states or disseminates any untrue fact or any misrepresented true fact that is capable of hindering or preventing the efficiency of protection is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for one to five years.”
A Google translation of Hosszu’s message reads:
“Anyway, I wanted to help in some way with the current situation, so I asked Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector, who is our team doctor, how to do it.
With his recommendation, the Iron team (Máté Gelencsér, Tamás Batházi and myself) donated 1.5 million forints to the Semmelweis University Foundation for research into the coronavirus.
Whoever can do it, please do the same, any help, help! Bank Account Number: 11708001-20361060-00000000 OTP Bank
Hope to have success soon!“