Authorities in Hungary are tightening pandemic restrictions in an effort to mitigate a rapid rise in deaths and hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.
Businesses will be required to close their doors for two weeks beginning Monday, with only grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations permitted to remain open. Kindergartens and primary schools will also be closed until April 7. Sporting events may only be held without spectators, and businesses are urged to allow employees to work from home.
Now we have to lock down so that we can reopen at Easter,” Orban told public radio MR1. “It is certain that we have now turned to the finish line with this two-week lockdown, we are now in the final stage of the war waged against the virus, we are closing up onto the finish line,” he added.
The decision comes as another surge of the virus races across Hungary, with new daily cases and hospitalizations rapidly approaching their previous peaks set in December. On Thursday, one year to the day after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Hungary, 6,278 new infections were reported alongside 152 deaths, the deadliest day since Dec. 23.
Decrees signed. The next two weeks will be difficult. Together we will succeed again, Orban wrote on Facebook on Thursday.