Infectologist: Virus spread could start slowing mid-to-late April

Government issues decree on first stage of gradual reopening

The conditions for starting the first stage of a phased reopening in Hungary have been codified in a decree published in the latest issue of the official gazette Magyar Kozlony, the government portal said on Saturday.

The decree stipulates that the first stage of easing coronavirus restrictions can begin once 2.5 million people have received their first Covid-19 shot.

The evening-night curfew will then be shortened to between 10pm and 5am.

Also, shops will have to set a limit of one customer per 10 square metres, except in the cases of children under the age of 14, people over the age of 65 and those assisting someone with a disability.

Shops will have to ensure that those waiting to be let in can keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres from each other, with the exception of those living in the same household. Customers must also have access to hand sanitation, and shopping carts and trolleys must be disinfected on a regular basis.

Infectologist: Virus spread could start slowing mid-to-late April

Past experience indicates that the spread of the coronavirus in Hungary could start slowing again in mid-to-late April, Janos Szlavik, a senior infectologist of the South-Pest Central Hospital, told public media on Saturday.

Hungary right now is in “the most severe days” of the third wave of the pandemic, with record caseloads and a high number of hospitalised Covid patients, Szlavik said.

“Everyone has to be very careful now and observe the regulations,” he said, adding that the Easter holiday would be especially dangerous, as people are more prone to infection when spending time with their families without masks.

Many other European countries are dealing with similarly high caseloads, Szlavik said, noting the slow pace of vaccinations across the continent.

“With the vaccines it is using right now, Hungary is capable of vaccinating a lot more people than many other European countries, but at the moment even this is not enough,” he said.

Szlavik welcomed the Hungarian drug regulator’s decision to licence two more types of vaccines.

Hungary’s National Medicines and Food Health Institute (OGYEI) announced on Monday that it has granted licences for use to the Chinese CanSino coronavirus vaccine and Covishield, AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced in India.

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