Orbán announces curfew, school and business closures following record-breaking pandemic week

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In a video posted to Facebook on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced a series of new restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus following a week of record-breaking hospitalizations and deaths. 

Beginning at midnight on Tuesday, the following measures will be in effect across Hungary: 

  • a curfew will be in place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Only those going to or from work, or other special circumstances, will be permitted in public areas
  • Universities and high schools will move to digital education, and dormitories will be closed. Preschools, day care, kindergartens, and classes for students 14 years of age and younger will remain open
  • Businesses will be closed after 7 p.m., and restaurants will be limited to home delivery
  • A general ban on events will go into effect, and family gatherings will be limited to ten people
  • Sporting events will be played to empty stands
  • Hotels may only accept guests traveling on business, but not tourists
  • Healthcare workers, teachers, and caretakers at preschools and kindergartens will receive a coronavirus test on a weekly basis
  • Weddings may only occur without a reception, and a maximum of 50 people may attend funerals

The new measures will be in force for 30 days, after which they may be extended if necessary, Orbán said. The Parliament is expected to pass a measure declaring a state of emergency on Tuesday, which will be in effect for 90 days. The government may take extraordinary measures during this time without the need for parliamentary approval. 

The regulations represent the strictest measures yet taken by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision came after a record-setting week for deaths and hospitalizations, in which 619 people died and the number of patients being treated in hospitals went above 6,000 for the first time.

Orbán emphasized that the ultimate solution to the pandemic is a vaccine, which he said is "within sight."

"We've got to hold out until then," he said.

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