Hungary Extends Covid-19 Restrictions To March 15

Budapest: Hungary will maintain the restrictive measures introduced to rein in the novel coronavirus pandemic until March 15, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said here on Thursday.

“Mass vaccination will provide an opportunity to ease the restrictions, but we are currently in the third wave of the epidemic, so we will extend the measures in force until March 15, taking into account the views of epidemiological experts,” Gulyas said at a press conference following a session of the government.

He said that the national vaccination campaign has been accelerated, and explained that the restrictions could be radically eased once people over the age of 60 and those living with some kind of chronic illness — who are most at risk — receive the jab, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The restrictions in force include a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., the mandatory wearing of face masks, the closure of theaters, cinemas, hotels, and the switch to digital education for secondary and college students. Restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway services only.

Hungary currently has stocks of vaccines from five producers. These include China’s Sinopharm vaccine, the first shipment of which arrived in Budapest on February 16.

Hungary has already started to administer the Sinopharm vaccine as a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic looms, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday.

The country on Thursday registered 4,385 new Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 414,514, according to official data.

In the past 24 hours, 120 people have died from the disease, taking the toll to 14,672 in the country, while 315,781 have recovered. Currently, 4,836 patients are being treated in hospitals, including 411 on ventilators, the government’s coronavirus information website showed.

As of Thursday, 508,073 people had received at least the first shot of a vaccine, while 211,073 had two jabs, according to the website.

(With IANS Inputs)

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