BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Hungarian government has announced the strictest measures taken to date in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic amid a dramatic uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in a Facebook video Monday morning that a general curfew would be imposed countrywide between 8 p.m and 5 a.m. with the exception of those commuting to work. Businesses must close after 7 p.m., restaurants will be limited to home delivery, sporting events will be held in empty stadiums, and family gatherings will be limited to 10 people, Orban said. A general ban on events will also be introduced.
Universities and high schools will transition to digital education, while preschools, kindergartens and classes for children 14 and under will remain open. Healthcare workers, teachers and childcare workers will be tested weekly for the virus, according to the statement.
The newest restrictions will take effect at midnight Tuesday and remain in place for 30 days, after which they may be extended, Orban said. The Hungarian Parliament is expected to pass a measure on Tuesday which will enact a state of emergency for 90 days.
The raft of measures comes after a week of record-breaking hospitalizations and deaths. On Saturday, 107 people died of COVID-19, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, and more than 6,000 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospitals on Tuesday — also a record.