The conditions for starting the first stage of a multi-phase reopening in Hungary have been codified in a decree published in the latest issue of the official gazette Magyar Közlöny on Saturday.
The decree stipulates that the first stage of easing coronavirus restrictions can begin once 2.5 million people have received their first Covid-19 shot.
It also states that the government decided to maintain the restrictions until April 8th, 2021.
New rules after vaccination goal reached
After the vaccination of 2.5 million people, the night curfew will be shortened to 10 pm and 5 am.
Also, shops will have to set a limit of one customer per 10 square meters, except in the cases of children under the age of 14, people over the age of 65, and those assisting someone with a disability.
Shops will have to ensure that those waiting to be let in can keep a safe distance of 1.5 meters from each other, with the exception of those living in the same household. Customers must also have access to hand sanitation, and shopping carts and trolleys must be disinfected on a regular basis.
When will Hungary meet criteria?
As the government decided to have the decree coincide with a set number of people receiving their first Covid-19 shot instead of a specific date, the main question is when will Hungary be able to inoculate 2.5 million citizens?
As of today, 1,903,498 people have been vaccinated and considering the daily average of the vaccination numbers in the past weeks, it is likely that the country will reach the set goal by around April 10th.
As we previously reported, there are however, several points of concern around the gradual easing of restrictions and the reopening of the country.
One of the most worrying trends is that Hungary is still the most severely affected country in the world by the third Covid-19 wave.
Considering this, it is difficult to understand why the government set vaccinating 2.5 million people with the first dose as the milestone for the country’s reopening, as it has long been argued by epidemiologists that a vaccination rate of 60-70% is required to achieve herd immunity. However, the set goal is only 25% of the population of Hungary. Also, most of those inoculated have only received their first shot while most licensed vaccines in Hungary require two doses for someone to be fully protected.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI