We were talking with András Tamási, MD, the director of Smart Covid Center about the current COVID situation and about the safety of making a movie in Hungary, we were talking with him previously, you can read that interview here.
- If I know correctly you were the first COVID Center in Hungary. You created the first professional testing system.
- Yes, in the private sector we were the first ones who specialised on this type of testing. We had the background for this: we had microbiologist in our team, also professional business partners, and we were fast. We were also lucky enough to react quickly and built the system. We also have a laboratory. I am an anaesthesiologist, who lead the doctor’s team. We give advice and build a professional plan for the company’s COVID situation, so we give a whole package of assistance.
- When did you start testing in film the industry?
- In the summer, June or July with Dune.
- How should we picture the process of the testing?
- We reach our partner, the film studio itself, and we have a strict protocol which we need to merge with the Hungarian system. Each of the film has someone who is in charge of the covid testing. We also separate groups, and we have a test plan within the films.
We coordinate the system itself, as we do the airplane’s covid testing as well, we pick up the film crew from that point. If someone is very important, we also go to the hotel and we can test at the hotel room as well, or in the studios or outside the studio. We have the biggest laboratories in Hungary and we have 3 main locations where we test.
- What kind of film or bigger productions you worked with?
- We analysed more than 70.000 samples in the film industry, we did a lot of film testings, we worked with the biggest film production companies, like Pioneer or Mid Atlatic Films, but also with big telecommunication companies like T-systems or the hypermarket company, Spar. But we test a lot in the sport field as well. We are proud that we are the second biggest covid centre in Hungary after the state company.
- How can we imagine the film protocol in covid testing? What does this look like?
- The main difference between the Hungarian and the American system is the main contact definition. In Hungary if we both wear masks, and you or me would be positive, we are not main contacts meanwhile in America it means we are.
- Is Hungary a dangerous place to shoot a film?
- It might sound weird, but no, mainly if we compare it with the USA. We need to look at the transfection, the numbers of hospitals, how many breathing machines do we have, and our numbers are pretty good.
We also had the vaccine now, which is not a solution for long, because it will take many months to have all the people we need vaccinated, and it will also be only 1-2% of the vaccination. Fort he flock immunity we need this number to be around 60-70%. Now the transfection is about 10-15% in Hungary, and it will rise more in these weeks, so the numbers will rise in the near future a bit more.
- What about the film industry, will it stop?
- No, it will not, as from May 2020 it started again in the international field as well as I see. We test from that time a lot. We can say that Hungary is a safe place to visit, we have a good capacity to supply the film industry. We are also fast enough compared to other countries.
- What does the testing itself looks like?
- We produce an antigen test as well; you can have a result within a few minutes with this machine. All the staff members have a unique QR code with a PCR test and with this system it takes a bit longer but in 24 hours we have a result. We also work on applications (IOS and android system as well) which will make the system even faster, and the COVID supervisors will have the results through that, and the coordinator can see if a film crew member is positive or not.
We also plan to have this system in the Origo Studio entrance stage, and we will test the guests as well. Time is important in the film industry, so we built our capacity to fulfil the expectations, we also have an emergency protocol, so we have laboratory in Budapest which makes our system even faster.