Hungary should extend partial lockdown beyond Monday, surgeon general says

Police officers patrol during a night-time curfew imposed by the Hungarian government as the spread of the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) continues, in Budapest

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary should extend a partial lockdown currently due to end on Monday because of a rise in coronavirus infections in neighbouring countries, Surgeon General Cecilia Muller said on Wednesday.

The measures imposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government in November include a 1900 GMT curfew, a ban on all gatherings and the closure of hotels and restaurants.

“The government has the authority to make a decision (about the protective measures),” Muller told an online briefing, adding that Hungary had not yet detected a new variant of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom.

“However, the pandemic is ongoing, and case numbers have risen sharply in neighbouring countries, which means that upholding the (existing) measures is justified.”

Hungary had received three shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine so far, enough to inoculate 79,000 people, Muller said, adding that further doses would arrive on a weekly basis.

As of Wednesday, Hungary had reported 331,768 COVID-19 cases with 10,198 deaths and 179,541 recoveries. More than 5,000 people are in hospital, off earlier peaks.

(Reporting by Budapest bureau; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Macfie)

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