The epidemic curve of the UK and Hungary follows a similar path, with an average delay of 8 weeks. Thanks to this, on the basis of the British epidemic situation, it can be concluded when all the restrictions will be lifted in Hungary.
During the second wave of the pandemic, Hungary could forecast the next 10-14 days based on the pandemic situation in Austria. However, this is no longer relevant. As a result of the intensity of the third wave – that seems to have its peak soon – and the rapid vaccination program in Hungary, the epidemic situation of the country is now most comparable to that of Great Britain.
In the island country, the vaccination program of the population is progressing at a similar rate as in Hungary, and in the last wave of the pandemic, the British variant, which, according to experts, is the main reason for the rapid spread of the coronavirus in Hungary, has already played a significant role. Therefore, it is worth comparing the numbers there and in Hungary.
As Hungarian news portal Magyar Nemzet reports, the UK epidemic curve began to rise on 1st December 2020 and peaked in mid-January. Since then, there has been a steady decline in the number of new infections registered. With a 10-week discrepancy, a similar trend can be observed in Hungary where the number of new infections started to increase at the beginning of February and had its peak on 29th March.
Accordingly, the path of the Hungarian curve shows the decline of the British wave with a ten-week (70-day) delay.
Due to supply problems, the vaccination of the Hungarian population could not go as planned. However, from 28th February, the use of the Russian and Chinese vaccines accelerated the pace, and the increase in the vaccination rate was almost the same as in the UK. Then, Hungary was only 42 days behind the island nation. In mid-March, the pace of vaccination slowed slightly, increasing the time lag to 46 days.
The positive news is that the vaccination program in Hungary is more effective than in the UK. For instance, the second dose is administered much earlier than in the UK for most of the vaccines. Therefore, despite the time lag, Hungary performs better than the island nation in terms of the second vaccine dose.
Based on the two indicators – the pace of the vaccination and the number of new cases – from the epidemic curve of Great Britain, we can conclude how the third wave will develop in Hungary and when we can expect the opening. One shows a time lag of six and the other a time lag of ten weeks of delay in Hungary. Averaging the two, we can assume that the steps of the British opening program can be implemented in Hungary with an eight-week time lag.
The British government takes a five-week break between each opening phase, during which data is collected for four weeks, and in the final week, based on an analysis of this data, a decision is made as to the next opening phase.
Great Britain is planning a full reopening by 21st June, on the basis of which all restrictions could be lifted in Hungary on 16th August.
The island nation plans to open its shops and allow domestic holidays earlier, in mid-April. Taking into account the eight-week discrepancy, this could be introduced in Hungary in June-July.
As we all know, unfortunately, these predictions cannot be taken for granted as the third wave of the pandemic can bring unexpected twists. However, they give some hope that the recently extended restrictions will indeed end once and Hungary can safely reopen.