Hungary will suspend most COVID-19 restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, once the vaccination rate hits 5 million people this weekend.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio that masks would no longer be required in public, and that meetings of up to 500 people may be conducted outside, with events in confined areas available to everyone with a vaccination card.
“This implies the third wave of the epidemic has been beaten,” Orban said, adding that it’s time to say “goodbye to masks” in public areas.
Hungary is the only EU country to have licensed and utilized Russian and Chinese vaccines in substantial quantities before they were evaluated or approved by the European Medicines Agency.
This has allowed it to achieve one of the greatest inoculation rates in the EU, with half of its population of roughly 10 million having had at least one vaccination.
Most sectors of the service industry, including hotels, restaurants, spas, theatres, theaters, gyms, and sports arenas, have reopened.
Last year, the economy fell by 5%, and Orban, who is up for re-election in 2022, predicted that this year’s GDP growth will be greater than the government’s current forecast of 4.3 percent.
He emphasized that the government has chosen to extend the COVID-19 loan repayment moratorium until the end of August to give banks and the government more time to speak and work out plans for the moratorium’s future.
He added that lower-income borrowers will need to be helped much more in the future, but he didn’t elaborate.