Photo: MTI

Trace amounts of coronavirus in the waste water have grown in every city

Epidemic situation in Hungary ‘extremely grave’

The past few days have seen an "unprecedented upsurge" of the coronavirus epidemic in Hungary, making the situation "extremely grave", the chief medical officer told an online briefing. Cecilia Muller noted that the number of active infections have grown by "five to ten thousand people in the past couple of days".

The number of people in hospital and on ventilators in the past 24 hours, 8,270 and 833 respectively, both broke the records of Dec. 7 for the highest number of people on ventilators (674) and Dec. 8 for the highest number of hospitalised patients (8,045), she said.

The health-care system is hit hard by the high patient numbers, with new wards being opened for Covid patients every day, she added.

Meanwhile, trace amounts of coronavirus in the waste water have grown in every Hungarian city, she said, forecasting a further increase in case numbers.

So far, 1,047,045 people have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, and 314,485 people have received both shots, she said.

The chief medical officer warned, however, that the vaccine tended to provide a “false sense of security”, noting that it takes at least two to three weeks for the vaccine to build immunity.

Muller called on everyone to observe hygiene guidelines carefully and to accept the vaccine when offered.

She said one recent change to the national vaccination strategy has been a shift in focus to administer as many first doses as possible.

Muller said that another 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and 120,510 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab will be delivered to vaccination points on Tuesday, adding that GPs will also be getting 105,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week.

Those whose vaccination appointments were delayed from last weekend will be getting their AstraZeneca shots between Thursday and Sunday, Muller said.

Hungary will also begin vaccinating law enforcement officers and soldiers involved in the epidemic response efforts, she said.

Addressing the same press briefing, a deputy leader of Hungary’s operative board responsible for handling the coronavirus epidemic said that Austria has reclassified Hungary as a high-risk country, amending its rules on entry and transit for people coming from Hungary.

Austria will also bar entry to those looking to pass through to Germany who do not meet that country’s entry requirements, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kiss said.

Concerning Hungary’s tightened restrictions, Kiss said the authorities on Monday took action in 504 cases due to people neglecting to wear masks or wearing them incorrectly.

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