UPDATED: Hungary reports record 11,289 COVID-19 infections in 24 hours

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BUDAPEST, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Hungary reported 11,289 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, its highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic, the government said on its coronavirus website.

Hungary, a country of 10 million people whose vaccination rate lags the European Union average, imposed some new restrictions on Thursday while its neighbour Austria, which also has a relatively low vaccination rate, on Friday announced a full lockdown to stem a surge in infections. 

Hungary will make a third, booster shot against COVID-19 mandatory for all healthcare workers and will require protective mask wearing in most closed places from Saturday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff announced.

Gergely Gulyas also told a government briefing that only vaccines can provide protection against the coronavirus as case numbers are rising.

“The government’s advice is that everyone should get a booster shot, which is possible to get four months after the second dose,” Gulyas said.

The daily number of new infections is getting close to the peak of 11,265 reached during the third wave of the pandemic.

Hungary has hardly any restrictions in place and the vaccination rate is below the European Union average.

The steady rise in new COVID-19 infections prompted the Hungarian Medical Chamber to call on Wednesday for strict measures.

The chamber called for a ban on mass events and mandatory mask wearing in closed spaces and said that entry to restaurants, theatres and cinemas should be conditional on a COVID-19 immunity certificate.

Photo – Wearing a face shield, a pharmacist student of Semmelweis University takes swab sample for COVID-19 from a staff member of a kindergarten in Papakovacsi, Hungary. EPA-EFE/Tamas Vasvari

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