From Saturday, the wearing of a mask in enclosed spaces will be compulsory, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, stated at a regular government news briefing on Thursday.
After months of passivity, three weeks ago, the Orbán administration decided to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing on public transport from November 1st. Health experts had been asking the government to do so for a long time. Healthcare experts have also been asking the government to make mask-wearing compulsory in crowded places, among other measures. However, for months, the Orbán-led government was against introducing even soft measures to continue fighting covid.
According to their 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, the government has again made mask-wearing mandatory in enclosed spaces.
Gulyás also said booster jabs are now compulsory for healthcare staff. Plans are also afoot for the same in state administration, he added.
Events with more than 500 people attending can still be held if participants have immunization certificates, he said.
Also, mask-wearing will be mandatory wherever more than five people are regularly present in a shop. In schools, it will be up to head teachers to decide whether it is compulsory to wear a mask, he added.
Featured photo by Gergely Botár/kormany.hu