Photo: MTI

Muller: Russian vaccine to be used first in Budapest

Virus presence in wastewater rising again

Average concentrations of the novel coronavirus in Hungary's wastewater systems have begun rising again, said on Tuesday, citing data from the National Public Health Institute.

The average concentration of the novel coronavirus detected in wastewater samples from Budapest, Gyor, Miskolc and Szekesfehervar have shown a rising trend, while concentrations of the virus are down in Bekescsaba and Kecskemet, the website said.

The tests show a moderate presence of the virus in the sewage systems of Budapest, Debrecen, Gyor, Kaposvar, Miskolc, Nyiregyhaza, Szekesfehervar and Szekszard, while other cities had lower concentrations, it added.

Cecilia Muller, the chief medical officer, told an online press conference of the operative board coordinating Hungary’s response to the pandemic on Tuesday that concentrations of coronavirus in Hungary’s sewage systems have either been stable recently or were rising again. “This gives some cause for concern,” Muller said.

Russian vaccine to be used first in Budapest

Inoculations in Hungary using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will start in Budapest, Muller said. She told a press conference that 560 GPs in the city will each be asked to select five of their patients who do not suffer from any chronic underlying illnesses, who would then be referred to vaccination points to receive the jab. Fully 2,800 doses of the Russian vaccine are currently available, she said. She added that a further amount of the vaccine enough to inoculate 20,000 people were undergoing laboratory testing before use.

GPs will also be using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, Muller said, adding that 85,410 doses of that vaccine were expected to arrive on Thursday, alongside 21,600 doses of Moderna. Family practitioners will also start inoculating patients with chronic illnesses aged between 18 and 60 with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, Muller said. Fully 2,040 GPs will receive doses for 10 patients each, she said.

So far, 291,396 people have received at least one shot, while 110,395 people have been fully inoculated, she said.

Muller warned that though the figures indicated an improving tendency, “the ratio of positive cases within all tests is increasing”. The number of those in hospital and patients on ventilators have also increased, she said, adding that traces of the virus in sewage water were stagnating or increasing. “This gives cause for some concern,” she said.

The British variant of the virus has so far been detected in 24 samples, while the Brazilian or South African variants have not been reported, Muller said.

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