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Hungary reports record daily COVID-19 cases

Hungary reports record daily COVID-19 cases

People stand in a queue for vaccination in front of a hospital as the spread of COVID-19 continues in Budapest, Hungary, on Nov 22, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Bernadett Szabo)

BUDAPEST: Hungary reported a record 12,637 new daily COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1.045 million with 33,519 deaths, a government tally showed on Wednesday (Nov 24).

Hungary, a country of 10 million whose vaccination rate lags behind the European Union average, imposed new curbs last Thursday, a day before a full lockdown was announced in neighbouring Austria, which also has a relatively low vaccine uptake.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, which opposes further lockdowns for fear of stifling the economy, launched a vaccination campaign this week, offering jabs without prior registration amid a surge in new infections.

Wednesday's data showed that 5.81 million people, or slight less than 60 per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated, while 2.04 million have received booster shots.

Hungary has made boosters mandatory for healthcare workers and mask wearing has again been required in most indoor places since last  Saturday. The changes fall short of the strict measures urged by Hungarian doctors.

Orban's government has also allowed companies to make COVID-19 shots mandatory for their workers. Drug maker Richter and oil and gas group MOL have already said they will do so.

The idea of mandatory vaccinations has, however, raised concerns among Hungarians, with some expressing reservations despite already being vaccinated.

"Making the vaccine obligatory is a difficult thing as it could limit people severely, including earning a living, so I think such a decision should be made very carefully," said Zsuzsanna Koszoru as she lined up for a booster jab.

Source: Reuters/kg

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