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Jan 15, 2021

CORONAVIRUS: Here's the latest

A regularly updated feed of the latest information about coronavirus in Hungary.

 

January 15 - 11:35 AM: FM: Restrictions to remain in place due to EU's slow vaccine purchases

The foreign minister has revealed that Hungary’s coronavirus-related restrictions cannot be lifted due to the European Commission’s “appallingly slow vaccine purchase procedures".

“In the wake of Brussels’s pledges at the end of last year and at the beginning of 2021 it was expected that the EU would start vaccination with enormous speed, and restrictions in member countries could be eased,” Minister Szijjártó told MTI, adding that “it has not happened out of the EC’s fault”.

The minister also insisted that vaccines developed using EU funds “are the slowest to reach just the EU”, adding that residents in Britain, the US and Israel were being inoculated “at lightning speed”. “This has created a scandalous situation, especially in light of the EC launching continuous attacks on countries, including us, trying to obtain vaccines from other sources,” Minister Szijjártó said.

January 15 - 11:15 AM: Hungary preparing to receive vaccine from China

Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the first shipment of up to 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine “only depends on the speed of Hungary’s licensing”.

The minister said 129,860 vaccine doses have arrived from the EU so far, and 91,600 people have received their shots, while the government has reserved 19.7 million doses via EU channels. He added that Britain, Israel and China had been “more successful” in producing or obtaining the vaccine than the EU.

Gulyás said that the pandemic was being reined in, but warned that it could pick up again if restrictions were not observed. Restrictions could only be eased if the number of active infections is “significantly” lower or vaccination of the population is high enough to guarantee that the most vulnerable can no longer be infected. He added that around 90,000 more people died in 2020 than a year earlier, and the deaths were Covid-related.

January 15 - 11:10 AM: Government launches coronavirus vaccine drive

The Hungarian government is launching a campaign to encourage residents to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that vaccination is being provided on a voluntary basis, but he urged that as many people as possible register. He said over 500,000 people a day could be inoculated if there was a sufficient supply of the vaccine. “This means that we could complete vaccination in two weeks if we had enough doses.”

All government members, including the prime minister, will get inoculated “in due course”, he said, adding that healthcare staff, the elderly in care homes, and people older than 60 and with chronic illnesses were first in line.

Gulyás said there was a “good chance” Hungary would obtain the vaccine from China, in addition to other sources. He said that supplies via the European Union were slow, with weekly amounts received below 100,000 doses. At this rate it would take around 30 weeks to vaccinate 3 million people. He said exact figures are not yet available, but the number of people who have registered for coronavirus vaccination in Hungary has so far approached 1.5 million.

January 15 - 11:00 AM: 1,513 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 1,513 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 349,149. Meanwhile, 111 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 225,021. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 112,951.

There are currently 4,600 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 337 of whom are on ventilators.

January 14 - 14:40 PM: CMO confirms new variant of the coronavirus has reached Hungary

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has confirmed that a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the United Kingdom late last year, was detected in three patients in Hungary on Tuesday.

According to MTI, the CMO said the new variant was registered in surrounding countries earlier and therefore had been expected to appear in Hungary too. The new variant is 50-70 percent more infectious than the “original” virus. However, several vaccine producers have said that their products were effective against it. Müller also called on healthcare staff to get inoculated “so that we can move on along the vaccination list”.

The CMO added that vaccines are being administered continuously, with the process only being slowed down by the shipment of new doses. Hungary used up its entire stock of Covid-19 vaccines by Tuesday evening, inoculating a total of 86,929 people. Vaccine recipients will begin receiving their second doses on Jan. 18, she added. Meanwhile, Müller said that only 3 percent of those who have died from the disease were free of any underlying illnesses.

Müller also said that those who have been vaccinated are still required to wear face masks and observe social distancing.

January 14 - 14:20 PM: 1,926 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 1,926 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 347,636. Meanwhile, 118 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 220,304. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 116,266.

There are currently 4,689 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 344 of whom are on ventilators.

January 13 - 11:30 AM: Government has no plans to change rules or dates of school-leaving exams

The Hungarian government has no plans to change the rules or dates related to school-leaving exams scheduled from mid-May to June.

Zoltán Maruzsa, State Secretary for Public Education, said the government expects both written and oral exams to take place in the usual manner, with a deadline for applications for school-leaving exams and university admissions of Feb. 15,

Last year, some 80,000 students sat for their school-leaving exams in the spring and an additional 30,000 in the autumn, Maruzsa said, adding that this showed that the exams could be organized safely, even during a pandemic. No infection hotspots emerged as a result, he added.

January 13 - 11:10 AM: Hungary receives first shipment of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine

Hungary has received its first shipment of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

A total of 7,000 doses sufficient to inoculate 3,500 people has arrived in Hungary. A police escort accompanied the van transporting the vaccine from Belgium. The vaccines are kept under constant surveillance, and digital thermometers ensure that it is kept at a temperature below -25°C. The vaccinations will be used to inoculate residents of elderly care homes.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said that one vial of the vaccine can provide ten doses. Hungary inoculated 78,579 people against Covid-19 by Monday evening, mainly healthcare workers and elderly care home residents, using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Müller said.

Hungary took delivery of the first shipment of Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 26. It is set to receive a total of 4.4 million doses of the vaccine before the end of the year. The government has placed orders for more than 19 million Covid vaccine doses, sufficient to inoculate 10 million people, Müller said.

January 13 - 10:50 AM: 1,358 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 1,358  new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 345,710. Meanwhile, 95 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 215,453. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 119,309.

There are currently 4,870 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 339 of whom are on ventilators.

January 12 - 11:20 AM: Hungary to receive fresh batch of COVID-19 vaccines today

Ágnes Galgóczi, from the National Public Health Center, has confirmed that in addition to a new shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine sufficient to inoculate 39,000 people, Hungary will take delivery of 3,600 doses of Moderna’s vaccine today.

According to MTI, the new shipments will be used to continue the vaccination of Hungary’s healthcare staff and retirement home residents and employees.

Galgóczi added that health authorities are also preparing to begin vaccinating law enforcement personnel directly involved in the pandemic response. So far, 71,000 Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, she said.

January 12 - 11:10 AM: FM: Government has supported 1,434 investments since start of pandemic

The foreign minister has revealed that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Hungary last March, the government has supported 1,434 investments at the total value of HUF 1,676 billion (EUR 4.7bn).

Speaking at the inauguration of Hungarian-owned Merkbau’s new plant manufacturing doors and windows in Kiskunhalas, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the pandemic posed economic challenges as well as public health risks.

The minister said the government has a duty to protect people’s jobs as well as their lives and health. In the spring, the government decided to fight unemployment rather than financing it, he said. The past decade’s efforts have created a robust Hungarian economy, with Hungarian companies at its foundations which are becoming stronger and stronger, he said.

The minister also pointed out that Merkbau, an important construction company in southern Hungary, has invested HUF 580 million to preserve long-term jobs for its 350 employees. The government has supported it with a HUF 287 million grant, he added.

January 12 - 11:00 AM: 696 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 696 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 344,352. Meanwhile, 128 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 209,852. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 123,647.

There are currently 5,005 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 356 of whom are on ventilators.

January 11 - 11:20 AM: Romania lifts home quarantine for entrants from Hungary

Entrants from Hungary are no longer required to remain in isolation upon arriving in Romania.

Following a decrease in new coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents in Hungary, Romanian authorities decided to take Hungary off the list of countries where travellers must stay in a two-week quarantine upon entering Romania.

January 11 - 11:10 AM: FDI in Hungary amounted to HUF 1,676 billion in 2020

The foreign minister has confirmed that foreign direct investments in Hungary amounted to an unprecedented HUF 1,676 billion (EUR 4.7bn) during the pandemic last year.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told Kossuth Rádió that Hungary’s highly skilled workforce, its political stability, financing environment, logistics and infrastructure were all factors when it came to attracting investments.

The minister emphasized the importance of political stability, noting that Hungary’s government has a democratic mandate to govern with a two-thirds majority, guaranteeing the lowest personal income tax and the lowest single corporate tax in Europe.

Minister Szijjártó noted American investment magazine Site Selection has selected Hungary as one of the 10 most popular investment destinations in the world for the third time in a row. He insisted that the government’s policy of “opening up to the East” had been vindicated.

The minister said that in 2019, investments last year were from eastern rather than western countries. In 2020, China overtook South Korea as the biggest source of foreign direct investment from the East. Big incentive schemes have aided the purchase of new machinery, production lines, and the introduction of new technologies, he said.

January 11 - 11:00 AM: 1,419 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 1,419 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 343,656. Meanwhile, 77 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 203,972. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 128,959.

There are currently 5,065 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 367 of whom are on ventilators.

January 8 - 12:35 PM: Operative body proposes extension of digital education

The operative body has proposed to the government the extension of digital education in secondary schools after the expiry of the current deadline on Jan 11.

Zoltán Maruzsa, State Secretary for Public Education, said on Thursday that the government’s decision on this issue and other restrictions is expected to be announced today.

Maruzsa asked schools to make preparations for the extension of digital education beyond Jan 11.

January 8 - 12:25 PM: Coronavirus vaccinations under way in Hungary’s four largest elderly care homes

Coronavirus vaccinations are already under way in Hungary’s four largest elderly care homes. The government’s coronavirus press center said the vaccinations are in line with the government’s inoculation plan.

According to MTI, two of the four facilities are in Budapest, one in Pécs and one in Miskolc. In the four institutions, altogether 447 employees and 779 residents have registered for the vaccine administered by “mobile inoculation teams”.

The care home in Budapest’s 17th district is home to over 500 people, with over 200 employees. There are 160 workers and 376 residents in the 15th district facility, and 237 workers and 480 elderly in the one in Pécs, in southern Hungary. In the home in Miskolc, northern Hungary, 165 employees help 437 residents.

The Pesti Road care home in Budapest’s 17th district — which became a major virus cluster during the first wave of the epidemic – were scheduled to receive the vaccine on Thursday. Botond Sára, head of the Budapest government office, noted that more than 300 of the home’s residents were hospitalized with Covid-19 and 55 died from the disease in the spring.

January 8 - 12:00 PM: 2,907 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 2,907 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 337,743. Meanwhile, 115 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 186,449. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 140,854.

There are currently 5,297 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 372 of whom are on ventilators.

January 7 - 13:50 PM: Government invests in development of Covid-19 testing laboratory

The foreign ministry and HIPA National Investment Agency have granted SYNLAB Hungary Kft HUF 140 million (EUR 390,000) for developments related to coronavirus testing, and the facility will be on track to process 5,000 PCR tests per day by the first half of 2021.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, welcomed, as “an important development”, that the largest European private service provider of medical diagnostics has made another investment in Hungary, adding that its center in Csepel was central Europe’s largest such lab and possibly Europe’s most cutting-edge.

The minister noted that around 45-50 million samples are tested each year at the 6,000sqm facility, adding that thanks to the government’s support, new laboratory equipment and devices are now being purchased, and a new center of excellence for blood collection and evaluation established together with a Covid laboratory.

Meanwhile, announcing an investment by 3DHISTECH Kft, Minister Szijjártó said Hungarian know-how also played a big role in combatting coronavirus around the world. He told MTI that the company’s devices were key to diagnosing the virus’s symptoms. The state is adding a HUF 282 million grant to the HUF 2.3 billion worth of investments. Its Budapest production center will expand from 4,000sqm to 8,000sqm, creating 70 new jobs, he added.

January 7 - 13:30 PM: CMO: UK virus mutation not yet found in Hungary

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has confirmed that the mutation of the coronavirus that originates from the UK has not yet been identified in Hungary.

According to MTI, the CMO said almost 21,000 healthcare staff have been inoculated against the virus so far at 25 vaccination points. She added that the network of immunization points will be expanded to more city hospitals, and GPs are planned to get involved in the campaign.

The CMO said that following healthcare employees, social workers and residents of care homes will get vaccinated with the help of mobile vaccination teams. Some 39,000 doses of vaccine arrived in Hungary on Tuesday and total supplies received so far are sufficient to inoculate 78,000 people. Further shipments of the vaccine are expected to arrive weekly starting next week.

Müller also said that that health authorities have so far received just five reports of side effects from the vaccine, mainly of muscle tremors and rashes, which are being looked into.

The CMO said Hungary should extend its Covid-related restrictions beyond Jan. 11, adding at the same time, that the decision will be up to the government. Europe is still grappling with the epidemic, she said, noting that cases have been surging in Hungary’s neighboring countries.

January 7 - 13:20 PM: 3,068 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 3.068 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 334,836. Meanwhile, 127 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 179,541. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 144,970.

There are currently 5,387 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 367 of whom are on ventilators.

January 6 - 13:20 PM: Coronavirus update: 2,047 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 2,047 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 331,768. Meanwhile, 118 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 179,541. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 142,029.

There are currently 5,646 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 396 of whom are on ventilators.

January 6 - 13:10 PM: CMO: Covid-19 vaccines available for all healthcare staff in Hungary

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller has confirmed that Hungary now has enough vaccines to inoculate all healthcare staff against the coronavirus, and 15,000 have already received their first jab.

According to MTI, Müller said general practitioners, pharmacologists and dentists can now receive the vaccine, adding that appointments can be made over the phone or via email. In the next step, workers and residents of elderly care homes will be inoculated, she said. Law enforcement officials directly involved in the protection efforts also have priority in the vaccination plan.

The CMO added that those who received the first jab will also be given a certificate containing the date of the second injection.

Hungary has also received the third shipment of the vaccine, 39,000 doses. From those, 5,000 doses of the vaccine were taken directly to Semmelweis University’s central pharmacy, where around 2,000 health employees have already been vaccinated.

January 5 - 14:30 PM: More than 12,000 healthcare workers vaccinated so far

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said some 12,000 healthcare employees have already received the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine.

According to MTI, Müller said healthcare workers can now get inoculated against Covid-19 at one of 25 vaccination points in the country, and encouraged all to get an appointment by using the contacts provided at koronavirus.gov.hu.

The first to get the vaccine were those working in ambulance care, ICU wards or directly with coronavirus patients, Müller said. Inoculation of health-care workers in other fields has also started, she said. Hungary is scheduled to receive 39,000 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, she added. Müller said the aim was to inoculate as many people as possible in the shortest possible time.

István György, a state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, said over 20,000 kindergarten and school teachers were tested for the virus on January 2-3, in 99 venues nationwide. The number of positive tests was 209, one percent of all samples taken, he said. That is a great improvement from the November data, when 2% of all tests came back positive, he added.

January 5 - 14:10 PM: 870 new cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

With 870 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary, the number of total cases now stands at 329,721. Meanwhile, 103 more Hungarians succumbed to the virus yesterday and the number of those who have recovered grew to 176,576. The number of active coronavirus cases now stands at 143,065.

There are currently 5,760 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 394 of whom are on ventilators.

January 4 - 11:50 AM: President Áder: 2021 should be a year when Hungarians feel grateful for lives saved

In his New Year’s address, President János Áder said 2021 should be a year when Hungarians feel grateful for lives saved and “touching moments of helping each other”.

During his speech, the president said the coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on the New Year holiday. All festivities departed from tradition due to the pandemic last year, he noted. “This time last year, we wished each other a Happy New Year without a care in the world,” he said. However, the happy confidence of the year’s start gave way to fear and uncertainty in a matter of weeks, he said. “Hardly anyone has been left untouched by the epidemic,” he said. Everyone is yearning to return to a life “with the gifts, freedoms and possibilities we all took for granted”.

President Áder praised the “heroic” work of healthcare staff, “making life-saving decisions even now, in the first hours of the new year.” “Can we ever repay them? Is it even possible to make up for this never-ending shift?”

President Áder called on Hungarians to be grateful for the work and perseverance of healthcare and social services workers, to scientists for “helping us to get to know this hitherto unknown enemy, and for working on the vaccine.” Thanks, he said, were also due to teachers for adapting to an ever-changing situation and putting their hearts and souls into their work. “Let us be grateful to those working in the fields and factories, shop assistants, suppliers and law-enforcement officials, because their work kept the country going,” he said.

The president called on Hungarians to show gratitude by “offering words of comfort, thanks, by showing discipline, being attentive, by accepting the truth, adhering to regulations and by putting our own wishes and interests on the back burner.”

“Let there be fewer questions and more acceptance, less doubt and more trust,” he said. Citing Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, President Áder asked Hungarians to “appreciate those who diligently labour among you.” “For that endeavor, I wish all of us strength, more patience, healing in body and spirit, and good health in the new year,” Áder ended his speech.

January 4 - 11:40 AM: PM Orbán: Hungary prepared for swift mass vaccinations against Covid-19

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said all the necessary technical conditions are in place to begin swift mass vaccinations against Covid-19 in Hungary once vaccines are delivered in larger quantities.

PM Orbán told public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió that Hungary currently has enough vaccines to inoculate 35,000 people. He noted that healthcare workers are the first to get the Covid shot under the government’s vaccination plan.

In the event that the country would suddenly have access to millions of vaccines, the shots would be administered at over 10,000 locations, PM Orbán said, adding that the vaccinations would take place at the regular electoral polling stations. He added, however, that Hungary is not expected to receive millions of vaccines in the foreseeable future, as not even the vaccine producers are in the position to project when they will be able to ship more doses or how many.

PM Orbán also said he would not want to “speculate” as to how quickly Hungary would be receiving more vaccines. “If we have a lot of vaccines, we’ll vaccinate a lot of people quickly, but if they arrive at a slower pace, then the vaccinations will also be slower and fewer people will get the shot,” he said. Hungary managed to rein in the second wave of the pandemic and now a third one must be prevented, he said.

January 4 - 11:30 AM: Coronavirus Update: 328,851 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 328,851. In compulsory home quarantine: 18,794. Recovered: 174,070. Deceased: 9,977.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 144,804. There are currently 5,667 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 400 of whom are on ventilators.

December 31 - 12:30 PM: New batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Hungary

A second shipment of the German-American coronavirus vaccine containing 70,000 doses arrived in Liszt Ferenc International Airport on Wednesday morning. The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Hungary on Saturday.

According to MTI, around 2,500 healthcare staff have been vaccinated with it so far. The new shipment arrived in Hungary on board a Boeing 757 from Germany. The second consignment will be sufficient to inoculate 35,000 Hungarian healthcare staff.

Shipments of the vaccine were sent to hospitals in Budapest, Győr, Kecskemét, Tatabánya, Kaposvár, Miskolc, Székesfehérvár and Balassagyarmat. Distribution of the vaccine continued later on Wednesday to another 11 hospitals both in Budapest and in the provinces.

December 31 - 12:10 PM: Coronavirus Update: 322,514 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 322,514. In compulsory home quarantine: 17,704. Recovered: 150,102. Deceased: 9,537.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 162,875.  There are currently 5,856 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 402 of whom are on ventilators.

December 30 - 13:50 PM: 600,000 people register to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Some 598,000 people in Hungary have so far registered to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Csaba Dömötör, State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, said 462,000 people have registered for the vaccine on the website vakcinainfo.gov.hu while 136,000 have sent in a registration form by mail,

Dömötör added that because vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary, it is crucial that the authorities know who wants to be inoculated. Mass vaccinations against the virus will be carried out under a vaccination plan, he noted, encouraging the public to register for the shot.

December 30 - 13:40 PM: 2,461 healthcare staff have so far received vaccination against the coronavirus

The National Public Health Center has confirmed that a total of 2,461 healthcare staff at three locations in Budapest and two in the countryside received vaccination against the coronavirus in the past three days.

Ágnes Galgóczi added that a new shipment of the vaccine is expected to arrive in Hungary this week, allowing inoculation to continue at 25 locations. The first shipment of 9,750 doses will be enough to inoculate 4,875 persons (the jab must be repeated 21 days after the first).

Commenting on 6,000 ampoules of Russian vaccine that were delivered in Hungary on Monday afternoon, she said they offered an opportunity for scientific cooperation, enabling the Hungarian authorities to assess additional vaccines.

Commenting on fake news about Pfizer’s vaccine, she said it did not contain the virus or even a part of the virus, only genetic information about the coronavirus’s signature spike protein which triggers anti-bodies. “It’s not the vaccine that we need to be afraid of, but the risks that come with the infection,” she said. The vaccines will be critically important when it comes to protecting the public from the virus, she said, emphasizing the need to continue observing Covid-19 health protocols.

December 30 - 12:57 PM: 319,543 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 319,543. In compulsory home quarantine: 19,496. Recovered: 144,234. Deceased: 9,429.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 165,880. There are currently 6,155 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 425 of whom are on ventilators.

December 29 - 14:02 PM: 317,571 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 317,571. In compulsory home quarantine: 21,667. Recovered: 138,365. Deceased: 9,292.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 169,914. There are currently 6,298 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 444 of whom are on ventilators.

December 29 - 13:35 PM: Hungary takes delivery of 6,000 doses of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine

The foreign minister has revealed that Hungary has taken delivery of 6,000 ampoules of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said on Facebook that the vaccine shipment entered Hungary from Slovakia and will be transported to the National Public Health Center under police guard. “Hungarian experts there will have another opportunity to decide how the vaccine will be used,” he added.

The minister confirmed that Russia has concluded clinical trials of the vaccine with 40,000 volunteers, which have shown it to be 91.4 percent effective. Hungary is keeping an eye on every promising vaccine candidate and is doing everything it can to import those that prove effective, regardless of whether they are developed in the West or the East, he added.

December 29 - 13:15 PM: Hungary to receive 4.4 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

Hungary will receive a total of 4.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the 2020-2021 period, including 80,000 doses scheduled to arrive before the end of this year.

Krisztina Zsigmond, vaccine distribution chief at Pfizer’s Hungarian unit, said that the European Commission had reserved 200 million doses, and would have an option for a further 100 million in 2020-2021. She said the vaccines would be distributed under agreements with the government and would only be available through the centrally designated vaccination spots rather than from private suppliers or from pharmacies.

Tamás Fabó, Pfizer’s medical director in Hungary, said that clinical trials had shown the vaccine to be 95 percent effective. He added, however, that it was not yet known how long the vaccine would ensure protection against Covid-19. Those inoculated will be monitored for two years, he said.

Péter Vereckei, managing director of Pfizer’s local unit, said that the vaccine had been developed using mRNA technology, which allowed rapid reactions to possible mutations of the virus and could be used to produce a new vaccine in as little as six weeks. He noted that that the first patent for the technology was filed by Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó, who lives in the United States.

December 29 - 13:10 PM: Restrictions are set to stay in place on New Year’s Eve

The current 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and restrictions are set to stay in place until January 11 with no exceptions for New Year’s Eve.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made it clear that New Year’s Eve parties and crowds simply cannot congregate this year.

Another restriction for this coming New Year’s Eve is the ban on fireworks. Typically fireworks are sold between December 28-31 and are allowed to be used on New Year’s Eve. However, with the pandemic situation afront fireworks will not be sold or allowed to be used this festive season.

The goal is to keep the virus at bay and not increase the spread over the holidays.

December 28 - 13:18 PM: 316,669 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 316,669. In compulsory home quarantine: 22,779. Recovered: 134,344. Deceased: 9,161.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 173,164. There are currently 6,261 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 448 of whom are on ventilators.

December 25 - 2:34 PM: 313,164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 314,164. In compulsory home quarantine: 29,961. Recovered: 123,989. Deceased: 8,833.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 181,342. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 20 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 6,006 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 489 of whom are on ventilators.

December 23 - 16:17 PM: Coronavirus Update: 308,262 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 308,262. In compulsory home quarantine: 29,316. Recovered: 114,631. Deceased: 8,616.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 185,015. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 21 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 6,727 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 495 of whom are on ventilators.

December 22 - 11:17 AM: Coronavirus Update: 306,368 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 306,368. In compulsory home quarantine: 35,624. Recovered: 108,676. Deceased: 8,462.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 189,230. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 21 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,124 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 522 of whom are on ventilators.

December 21 - 2:55 PM: Hungarian government supplements economic protection action plan for families and businesses

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a video message that the Hungarian government has supplemented the economic protection action plan in the interest of families and businesses.

PM Orbán said the moratorium on loan repayments will be extended, in its present form, for six months, until July 1. He added that there would be an automatic opt-in for participation. He said the government would subsidize two-thirds of payroll costs in December and January at businesses forced to close temporarily because of the epidemic.

The prime minister said the local business tax would be halved for small- and medium-sized enterprises and sole proprietors from January 1. These businesses account for the most workplaces and are also the most vulnerable during the epidemic, he added.

PM Orbán said the government would subsidize the resulting municipal revenue shortfall in settlements with fewer than 25,000 residents, while the situations of bigger cities would be weighed on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, the prime minister said families with one or more children or with a baby on the way would be eligible for a HUF 6 million (EUR 16,800) preferential loan, capped at 3 percent interest, for home renovation. The principal will be reduced with a HUF 3 million government grant when the renovation is completed, he added.

December 21 - 11:38 AM: Coronavirus Update: 305,130 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 305,130. In compulsory home quarantine: 32,486. Recovered: 102,962. Deceased: 8,282.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 193,886. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 22 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,097 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 517 of whom are on ventilators.

December 20 - 12:59 PM: Coronavirus Update: 302,989 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 302,989. In compulsory home quarantine: 41,445. Recovered: 97,443. Deceased: 8,099.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 197,447. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 22 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,022 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 520 of whom are on ventilators.

December 19 - 13:14 PM: Coronavirus Update: 300,022 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 300,022. In compulsory home quarantine: 44,010. Recovered: 93,323. Deceased: 7,914.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 198,785. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 23 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,295 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 538 of whom are on ventilators.

December 18 - 13:16 PM: Coronavirus Update: 295,977 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 295,977. In compulsory home quarantine: 45,075. Recovered: 89,814. Deceased: 7,725.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 198,438. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 23 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,335 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 564 of whom are on ventilators.

December 18 - 11:20 AM: Free public transport for those fighting the coronavirus

New regulations came into effect on Tuesday evening to allow those fighting against the coronavirus free travel on public transport. The new rules include social workers, those working in child welfare and protection services, public servants, members of the army and police officers.

Workers will now be allowed to use local, regional and national transportation services without purchasing a ticket.

Those who are within the above-mentioned sectors must have their employer fill out a form attached to the government decree. They will have to present this with their identification documents to conductors.

The regulation will be in place, along with other measures such as the curfew, until January 11, but may be extended in the future.

December 17 - 2:10 PM: Government extends state of medical preparedness

The Hungarian government has extended the state of medical preparedness related to the coronavirus epidemic for another six months.

The state of medical preparedness was introduced after the special legal order was lifted at the end of the first wave of the epidemic in late spring. The government’s decision to extend it was published in the official gazette Magyar Közlöny on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the authorities took action against 183 people for violating mask-wearing rules. Police have taken action in 13,659 cases due to people neglecting to wear masks or wearing them incorrectly since the government decree on stricter coronavirus-related defense measures entered into force on Sept. 21.

Public transport drivers are no longer required to wear masks if their cabins are closed off from passengers.

December 17 - 11:41 AM: Coronavirus Update: 291,549 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 291,549. In compulsory home quarantine: 44,248. Recovered: 86,954. Deceased: 7,538.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 197,057. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 20 percent of the deceased, and 23 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,522 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 573 of whom are on ventilators.

December 16 - 11:36 AM: Coronavirus Update: 288,567 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 288,567. In compulsory home quarantine: 42,467. Recovered: 83,940. Deceased: 7,381.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 197,246. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 21 percent of the deceased, and 23 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,639 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 574 of whom are on ventilators.

December 15 - 12:04 PM: Mass coronavirus vaccination will begin in 2021

Small quantities of coronavirus vaccines could arrive in Hungary this month, but mass vaccination will start in 2021.

According to MTI, Ágnes Galgóczi, Head of the Epidemiology Department at NNK, said Hungary had secured 17.5 million doses of vaccines from various manufacturers.

The licensing procedure of the vaccines is continually being monitored. Since Pfizer’s vaccine is most likely to be approved by the European Medicines Agency the soonest, it will be the first product to be used for mass vaccination in Hungary.

December 15 - 10:48 AM: Coronavirus Update: 285,763 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

The number of confirmed people infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 285,763. In compulsory home quarantine: 42,752. Recovered: 83,115. Deceased: 7,237.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases is 195,411. The results show that 18 percent of those infected, 21 percent of the deceased, and 23 percent of those recovered live in Budapest. There are currently 7,845 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 597 of whom are on ventilators.

December 14 - 11:35 AM: Justice Minister: EU deal is a victory for common sense

Justice Minister Judit Varga said Thursday’s agreement concerning the European Union’s next budget and coronavirus recovery fund has in the first place been a victory for common sense.

In an interview with BBC World News, Minister Varga welcomed that the bloc was now focusing on the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts rather than on ideological debates, and called the recovery package unprecedented. The EU treaties must not be bypassed, nor should some member states be politically blackmailed through the EU’s budget, pressing them to change their position concerning major issues, the minister said. 

The minister rejected accusations that the Hungarian government takes EU money but rejects the bloc’s democratic norms. It is in all members’ interest that community funds should be spent legitimately, especially because Hungarian taxpayers, too, contribute to the European budget, she insisted. According to Minister Varga, the Hungarian government has obtained guarantees of fair procedures and legal certainty.

December 14 - 11:25 AM: Hungary avoids mass young worker redundancies during pandemic

Many countries in Europe are currently facing a tough employment situation. The rise of the pandemic inevitably led to the layoff of workers in general, but most commonly young workers under 25-years-old. Nearly 400,000 young workers lost jobs within the EU this year. The normal youth unemployment rate is 15.3 percent. This year that number rose by 2.7 percent.

Thankfully Hungary was able to evade this unfortunate circumstance and continue to employ young workers in various industries. In October, Hungary was nearing pre-pandemic levels of employment of young workers. Sándor Bodó, State Secretary for Employment Policy of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, has credited Hungary’s success to the economic protection measures that were implemented.

Within the EU, Hungary has one of the lowest unemployment rates and the number of jobseekers has been steadily declining in the last five months.

Currently, the state provides special aid through the Enterprise Labor Support Program to participating employers. The program which was launched in October, provides a subsidy of HUF 100,000 each month for five months to employers that employ young people.

Bodó noted that the government has received a large amount of applications from employers in a small amount of time affirming the fact that there is a need to employ young people.

December 14 - 11:22 AM: Coronavirus Update: 283,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary

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