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Coronavirus

Hungary Will Allow Outdoor Terraces at Restaurants and Bars to Open Saturday

BUDAPEST— Hungary will allow outdoor terraces at restaurants and bars to open Saturday and plans further openings next week, even as the COVID-19 death rate in the country remains among the highest in the world.

The number of people who have received at least a first dose of a vaccine in Hungary surpassed 3.5 million Friday, a threshold earlier set by the government for when outdoor seating areas could reopen.

In a morning radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that number was likely to reach 4 million next week, when a new round of openings would be extended to holders of an “immunity certificate” proving they’ve received a vaccine or recovered from the disease.

Hungary’s government has tied its reopening strategy to the number of vaccines it administers. Around 35% of the population has received at least one dose, the second-highest rate in the European Union. But the country has had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths per million inhabitants in the world for over a month, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Friday, Orban announced that theaters, cinemas, gyms, swimming pools, spas, zoos, museums, libraries and sports events will be opened next week for those who hold a government-issued immunity certificate. Hotels and indoor dining at restaurants may also accept certificate holders.

“It sounds like a normal life,” Orban said.

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