After weeks of passivity, the Orbán administration has decided to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing on public transport from November 1st. Health experts have been asking the government to do so for two months. The leadership of Budapest also wanted to reintroduce this measure, but they could not do it without the central administration’s approval. The government has also announced two other measures aiming to slow down the spread of coronavirus in Hungary.
Mask-wearing in closed places such as public transport and crowded open places can save lives and slow the spread of covid, experts say. They were trying to convince the Orbán administration for the past two months to reintroduce this measure. But for whatever reason, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was reluctant to do so. According to his reasoning, only vaccination can help and save lives, while mask-wearing, maintaining ample distance and other measures have little to no effect on the pandemic. Every expert agreed that vaccination is essential- however, they all said it is not enough since many in the country are still unvaccinated (Hungary has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU), and even vaccinated people can be infected, get sick, and spread the virus.
Now that the country has seen its active infections doubling in a week, the Orbán government has finally decided to intervene. At his regular weekly press briefing, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, announced that mask-wearing will be again mandatory on public transport starting November 1st.
The government has made two more decisions regarding the fourth wave: after many hospitals decided to impose a ban on visitors, the Orbán administration made this ban standard country-wide.
The Orbán administration has also decided to give employers the right to require vaccination against Covid-19 as a precondition of employment.
Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI