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Hungary reintroduces State of Emergency

Hungary reintroduces State of Emergency

Nightclubs close; curfew is imposed from midnight to 5 in the morning

In a surprise video aired on Facebook after a government meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the State of Emergency was being introduced again in Hungary from midnight. Parliament was asked to extend the special powers by 90 days.

Orbán justified the decision with the accelerating spread of the coronavirus epidemic, saying that Hungary will typically reach the infection levels of neighbouring Austria in five or seven days. Under this scenario, Hungarian hospitals will reach their capacity limits by December, he warned.

“The epidemic is now, as in the spring, the greatest threat to the lives of the elderly. Political debates must now be set aside. We need swift action. Last time, it took two weeks for Parliament to pass legislation to penalize those who break the rules of wearing a mask. In this situation, this is absolutely absurd. If the virus is spreading fast, then we need to act fast too,” the Prime Minister added, quoted by MTI.

As part of the new restrictions, curfew is imposed from midnight to 5 in the morning. Nightclubs will close, as they have proved incapable of enforcing the social distancing rules.

Sports and cultural events, including theatre performances and film screenings, can go on but with limited attendance of every third chair occupied. Use of masks will be mandatory without exceptions. Authorities will carry out inspections at all events, impose fines and close places where the rules are not followed.

Free parking is again introduced across the country with the aim of reducing passenger congestion in public transport.

Healthcare supports promised

Orbán promised that doctors will receive a pay rise and will be fully supplied with protective equipment. “We are third in Europe in terms of hospital beds and world leaders in ventilators. We have made almost superhuman efforts, but it’s not enough,” said the Prime Minister.

Broaching the topic of a vaccine against Covid-19, he said that this final solution is already within sight and Hungary will negotiate with the European Union, Russia, China and Israel to obtain sufficient quantities.  

“The situation is serious, but we made it in the spring. If we come together and follow the rules, we will succeed together again,” concluded the Prime Minister. 

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