Hungary reopening photos
Zoltán Balogh/MTI

The government will make decisions concerning the next steps in easing coronavirus-related restrictions once vaccinations reach 3 million, the prime minister’s chief of staff told a press briefing on Thursday, adding that this was likely to happen within 5-6 days.

Gergely Gulyás noted that over 1.5 million people had received at least the first of their shots during the past month, adding that Hungary was “one of the fastest vaccinating countries” in Europe.

The number of Hungarians inoculated with at least the first jab is expected to exceed 4 million before the end of April, Gulyás said.

Hungary began a gradual reopening of shops and services on Wednesday after it inoculated 25% of its population, even as the Hungarian Medical Chamber said the reopening was premature as the third wave of the pandemic was far from over.

Facing an election in 2022 and hoping to avoid another year of recession, PM Orbán is opening up the economy after accelerating its vaccination campaign.

Hungary has inoculated among the most citizens per capita in the European Union and imported the EU’s highest number of vaccine doses per capita.

But the country has also had the highest daily per capita COVID-19 fatalities in the world for the past few weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“We hope that by the end of May, when we have inoculated everyone… we will have this terrible period behind us,” Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a government briefing.

Gulyás also said Hungary would continue the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as it considered the vaccine safe.

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday said it found possible links between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clots among some adult recipients, although it said the vaccine’s advantages still outweighed the risks.

Hungary has been the only EU country to inoculate people with China’s Sinopharm vaccine, after rolling out Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, although neither has been granted approval for emergency use by the bloc.

The Russian and Chinese shots are being administered along with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and shots developed by Moderna and AstraZeneca, all of which have received the EU green light.

coronavirus hungary hospital
Read alsoEasing starts in Hungary while the virus continues to spread

Source: MTI, Reuters

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