Hungary will begin gradually easing its restrictive measures first introduced on March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced in a video message posted on Facebook.
Orbán said that the first phase of the coronavirus defense was over, and the Hungarian healthcare system is now fully prepared for the handling of even mass infections. He thanked all those involved for their hard work, saying that “there is no reason for concern that anyone would remain without treatment”.
He added, however, that in the initial stage of returning to normal life the measures will only apply outside Budapest. Almost two-thirds of all 2,775 coronavirus cases have been registered in and around Budapest.
“Together with you, we will try to restart life in Hungary, but we must act gradually and according to a strict schedule,” Orbán said. “This means that we must continue to maintain tight defensive measures for the elderly and our compatriots living in the most infected areas. As you know, infections are mainly concentrated in the capital and in the surrounding areas and surrounding settlements. Therefore, for the protection of the people living here, in and around Budapest, curfew restrictions will remain in place.”
Outside of the capital, all shops can now reopen, as well as outdoors sections of cafes, restaurants and baths.
In the capital, the restrictions remain in force, meaning that only those commuting to work, procuring essentials or visiting a doctor can leave their homes and commerce is restricted to food shops, drugstores, pharmacies, petrol stations, and tobacconists.
The new measures will apply from Monday, May 4.
Those shops that can operate have to close by 3:00 p.m. and the period between 9:00 a.m. and 12 p.m. is reserved for those above the age of 65 to shops in grocery stores.
For the upcoming long May 1 weekend, municipalities will still be allowed to implement measures stricter than the national ones if they deem it necessary.
Orbán also said the government, in consultation with epidemiologists, will continue to monitor the situation and review the restrictions every second week.
Title image: Car dealership Porsche Hungária puts a Skoda car at the disposal of the Szent János hospital in Budapest. (MTI/Zsolt Szigetváry)