Minister orders suspension of same-day surgeries

Government info centre releases detailed lockdown measures

Hungary's government has taken strict lockdown measures in the hope that the third wave of coronavirus infections could be tackled and life could return to normal by Easter, the Government Information Centre told MTI.

Shops, with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, drugstores, tobacco shops, shops selling tools for “spring gardening”, pet food and fodder shops and markets, will have to be closed and services, with the exception of private health care, social care, financial, postal and car repair services, suspended between March 8 and 22. Florists will be allowed to open on March 8, international women’s day.

Kindergartens and primary schools will be closed from March 8 until April 7. Digital education will be prolonged in secondary schools and higher education institutions. In view of the low infection rates, creches will stay open.

The night-time curfew will remain in place.

Mask-wearing will remain mandatory outdoors and maintaining a safe distance of 1.5 metres continues to be recommended.

The government asks employers to ensure that their employees can work from home wherever possible.

Licenced athletes will be allowed to train and compete behind closed doors. Parks, arboreta and forests will remain open and outdoor sports will also be allowed, provided that people can maintain the safe distance.

Hungary will impose tighter controls on its borders, but freight and transit traffic will not be restricted.

Wage subsidies and tax cuts introduced for the hospitality industry will be expanded for the period of the lockdown to all sectors forced to shut down by the new measures.

The third wave is expected to be stronger than either of the previous waves. “Although this is the home stretch in the fight against the virus” and nearly 900,000 people have been vaccinated, the “virus has launched a last attack”, the Government Information Centre said.

The country has to be closed now so that it could reopen as soon as possible, it said.

Minister orders suspension of same-day surgeries

Human Resources Minister Miklos Kasler has ordered the immediate suspension of same-day surgeries in Hungary, his ministry said in a statement.

Hungary is seeing a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths, in part due to the rapid spread of the so-called British variant of the coronavirus, the human resources ministry said. In order to ensure constant care for Covid patients and to contain the spread of the virus, the human resources minister on Friday ordered all hospitals as well as the National Ambulance Service to suspend same-day surgeries, it added.

The ministry said the suspension would remain in place as long as it is warranted by the status of the pandemic.

Catholic churches to stay open during lockdown

Catholic churches in Hungary will stay open and services will continue to be public, the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a statement.

In view of the country’s lockdown starting next Monday “churches are especially important as places for spiritual renewal and prayer”, the statement said, but added that local bishops would relieve church-goers of their obligation to attend mass.

Services will be held in line of curfew and other regulations, with special regard to physical distancing and wearing masks, the statement said.


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