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Mayors need to get infection data on their towns, says data protection authority

picture of masked people

The National Center for Public Health (NNK) has to provide coronavirus infection data to municipal authorities, the National Data Protection and Freedom of Information Authority (NAIH) wrote in a statement to state news agency MTI.

The authority says that since mayors have to decide on whether to set coronavirus vaccine mandates for municipal employees, they require the necessary epidemiological data for their localities, which is available in NNK’s system, to be able to do this.

In its statement, the NAIH stated that it “requests the competent government agency to provide the data requester with the number of coronavirus infections in its municipality for the specified period.”

In another investigation, the authority drew attention to the fact that mayors represent a community who are “obliged to facilitate and provide accurate and prompt information to the public” under the Freedom of Information Act. “Knowledge of numbers is essential for both mayors and the general public to make informed decisions about how to control the epidemic,” the statement concludes.

Although Minister Gergely Gulyás announced at the end of October that local municipalities could set coronavirus vaccination requirements for municipal employees, several mayors lacked the infection data that they said would allow them to make an informed decision.

The mayor of Szombathely, András Nemény, has asked for it several times, but has not received infection data on his city, nor did Mayor László Botka of Szeged. “It is an unprecedented irresponsible act what the government is doing in this epidemic, and it may cost more lives,” the mayor of Szeged wrote on Facebook.

Not only the opposition-run municipalities, but pro-government ones have also turned to the government in vain for information: András Cser-Palkovics, the Fidesz mayor of Székesfehérvár, has repeatedly complained publicly that city leaders do not know how many people there are infected.

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