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Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony has welcomed the new restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus in Hungary announced by the prime minister earlier on Monday, adding, however, that they should have been introduced sooner.

“The measures announced by the prime minister are necessary and warranted,” Karácsony said on Facebook. “But they would have been necessary and warranted earlier, since the government had already lost control of the epidemic weeks ago.”

The Budapest Municipal Council will implement the measures, he said, adding that the capital’s operative board in charge of handling the epidemic was scheduled to meet later on Monday.

Karácsony also said that he “cannot ignore that the government’s foolish attacks only make it harder to defend against the virus”.

“One good example of this is that the government has just announced a testing programme that it called the Municipal Council ‘stupid’ for proposing just a day ago,” the mayor added.

Karácsony said he was glad the government was implementing the measures proposed by the city council and getting ready to test school and kindergarten teachers and nursery employees. He added that the capital would further expand its coronavirus testing capacities, as it did not consider the government’s to be adequate.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that if granted special powers in a parliamentary vote on Tuesday, the government will extend the curfew introduced earlier to be in force between 8pm and 5am, and restrict opening hours of shops and other services starting at midnight on Tuesday, in measures similar to those in force in Austria.

The measures will be imposed for thirty days, and will be reassessed afterwards, Orbán said.

All gatherings will be prohibited and restaurants will be closed except for home deliveries. Company canteens will stay open. Shops and services such as hair salons will have to close at 7pm, and hotels will only be allowed to receive business travellers but no tourists, Orbán said.

featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI