Hungary is set to enter the next phase of protective measures against the novel coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Facebook on Wednesday.
“We can try to restart life in Hungary but we must take a gradual approach and follow a strict schedule,” Orbán said after a cabinet meeting.
The prime minister said this meant the elderly and those living in the country’s most infected areas will still require strong protection.
Because Budapest and its surrounding areas have the highest number of infections, the restrictions on movement will remain in effect in those places, while in the rest of the country the current curfew restrictions will be replaced by other protective measures, Orbán said.
Shops will be allowed to reopen without time limits and restaurants and cafes can reopen their outdoor sections, he said. Beaches will also be allowed to reopen.
However, people will be required to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others and wear masks or cover their faces in shops and in public transport, the prime minister said.
The details of the new restrictions will be revealed on Thursday, he said. The government is in constant consultations with epidemiologists and the status of the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks, Orbán said.
The first phase of protective measures against the virus has come to an end, the prime minister said, thanking those who had contributed to Hungary’s protection efforts.
Orbán said Hungary was now prepared to manage a massive increase in infections. “Today we no longer have to be wary that anyone would be left without adequate care,” he added. “We’re preparing for the worst, but of course, hoping for the best.”