BUDAPEST— Hungary’s government will soon lift several COVID-19 restrictions as the number of new cases and deaths continue to plunge amid a rapid vaccination campaign.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday that an overnight curfew in place since November will be lifted once 5 million people in Hungary have received at least a first dose of a vaccine, which he predicted would happen this weekend. The wearing of masks will no longer be mandatory in public areas, and restrictions on shop hours will be eliminated, he said.
“Five million vaccinated Hungarians! This is the end of an era, which means … we have defeated the third wave,” Orban said.
The easing of restrictions comes as Hungary has vaccinated more than 55% of its population, the second highest rate in the European Union, using vaccines procured from Russia and China as well as from the EU.
Hungary had a devastating wave of the pandemic in the spring. As of Friday, 29,427 have died in the country of fewer than 10 million.
Once the 5 million threshold is reached, several other events will be permitted: group sports in public areas, private events for up to 50 people, weddings for up to 200 and open-air events of up to 500.