BUDAPEST (Reuters) – The Hungarian government will decide later this week on new restrictions to curb a rapid spread of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s cabinet chief said on Monday.
Gergely Gulyas did not specify what the new measures would be, but he said schools would keep running. “The aim is to be able to fight the pandemic successfully and keep the country operating,” Gulyas told Inforadio.
He said the current situation required further steps from the government and the cabinet would discuss them at a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. There were many proposals on the table and “it is certain that tighter measures are needed”.
Trying to minimise further harm to the recession-hit economy, Orban’s government has so far refrained from curbing mass events and kept schools and all shops open. Soccer matches have been held with spectators in stadiums nationwide.
From Monday, those violating rules on wearing masks face stiff fines, with offending restaurants and shops to be closed by authorities if necessary.
Last week the National Medical Chamber called on the government to limit the opening hours of restaurants and reimpose special shopping hours for the elderly as infections and the number of hospitalized COVID patients is rising fast.
On Monday, Hungary reported a record daily 70 new deaths, with the overall toll rising to 1,889. The total number of cases in Hungary rose to 82,780. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals surged over the past week to 4,417 on Monday.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than and Anita Komuves; Editing by Mark Heinrich)