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Hungary shuns further restrictions despite rising COVID-19 cases

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Hungary has no immediate plan for more restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday, even as health officials reported a steady rise in new cases and deaths.

The government would look at data on infections again next week to review its decisions, the chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a press briefing.

“The government will maintain the existing measures and there will be no change until next week’s government meeting,” Gulyas said.

Hungary reported 6,360 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the second-highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic, while the number of deaths, at 115, was the third-highest on record despite a partial lockdown imposed early this month.

The central European country closed secondary schools, universities and restaurants and imposed an extended night-time curfew from Nov. 11 and introduced restricted shopping hours this week to protect old people.

Gulyas said the increase in infections was due to more widespread testing, including of teachers, social and healthcare workers, launched this month. 

Main 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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