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Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office , Source: Gergely Gulyás on Facebook

Hungary reintroduces mask mandate for all indoor spaces

Hungary reintroduces mask mandate for all indoor spaces

Immunity certificate required for events of more than 500 people

From Saturday, 20 November, the wearing of a mask in all enclosed spaces in Hungary becomes compulsory. Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, announced this at the regular government press briefing on Thursday amid soaring daily Covid-19 cases exceeding the 11 000 mark.

Reluctance to impose stricter measures

The mask mandate extends to shopping malls, museums, theatres and cinemas, and in public administration facilities open to the general population. So far, masks have been obligatory only in public transport and hospitals.

For months now, despite the steady climb of Delta infections, Hungary’s right-wing, populist government has been reluctant to bring harsher restrictions back. This can be attributed in part to a fear of angering voters ahead of the 2022 April elections, but also to PM Viktor Orbán’s firm conviction that the pandemic can be controlled through mass vaccination alone, while mask-wearing, social distancing and other protective measures have little effect on its course.

Large events accessible only with immunity certificate

Gulyás, quoted by hirado.hu, also said that events of more than 500 people can only be attended with an immunity certificate.

Regarding service provider areas, he said it will be mandatory to wear a mask wherever more than five people are regularly present. In schools, principals will decide whether to impose mask-wearing for students, he explained. Exceptions to the mask mandate are offices and sports facilities.

Vaccination action week

As part of the vaccination action week starting on Monday, 101 vaccination points nationwide await people, and 9.7 million doses of vaccine are available, said Gulyás. Booster jabs have been made compulsory for healthcare workers and the government, “trying to set a good example”, plans to apply the same measure in the state administration, he added.

Coronavirus situation

On Friday, 11,289 new coronavirus infections and 135 deaths were registered in Hungary on a daily basis, according to koronavirus.gov.hu. The number of active cases has risen to 128,124. 6,122 Covid patients are treated in hospital, 613 of them in intensive care units.

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