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The fourth Covid wave will be fundamentally different from previous ones in Hungary thanks to the country’s vaccination drive, the prime minister’s chief of staff told a government press briefing on Wednesday, adding that Hungary was among Europe’s “safest and freest” counties today in terms of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gergely Gulyás said the government had no intention of bringing back lockdowns.

He said the elderly were still vulnerable, and appealed to people who have not got vaccinated to do so.

Gulyás said booster jabs were primarily recommended for people over the age of 60. The government has done everything it could to facilitate the vaccination of the elderly, he said, adding that all data indicated that the vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid.

Gov't to Initiate Extending Pandemic Related Special Legal Order
Gov't to Initiate Extending Pandemic Related Special Legal Order

The extension of the law's effect is necessary to defend against the pandemic which is still present and because of an increase in the number of infections triggered by the spread of the delta variant of the virus in Hungary and across Europe, the gov't said.Continue reading

Hungary has plenty of vaccines available, and it will join EU procurements of vaccines for the under-12s should a vaccine be approved for this age group, he added.

Hungary has 3.3 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in stock, in addition to 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca, some 300,000 doses of Jansen, 77,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik jab and 2.6 million of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, he said.

Meanwhile, Gulyás noted the government has asked lawmakers to prolong the special measures related to Covid until Jan. 1, adding that this had no bearing on people’s fundamental freedoms. He added past restrictions such as curbs on public gatherings and curfews have been lifted, so given an extension of emergency measures it will be possible to hold demonstrations, for example. The government’s reactive capabilities will be maintained if lawmakers agree to prolong the special measures, Gulyás said.

Meanwhile, he insisted that rising caseload was not expected to have a corresponding effect on hospital admissions or deaths.

Despite Extensive Vaccinations, More Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19 in Hungary than Last September
Despite Extensive Vaccinations, More Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19 in Hungary than Last September

"The number of hospitalized and ventilated individuals has increased faster than the number of covid cases in the past week, although the opposite should be happening," an expert said.Continue reading

He said immunity certificates were still relevant and it was possible they would gain in importance.

Featured photo by Zoltán Máthé/MTI