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Hungary govt expects COVID-19 cases to surge, shortens quarantine period

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Coronavirus8 minutes ago (Jan 13, 2022 06:29AM ET)


Hungary govt expects COVID-19 cases to surge, shortens quarantine period © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand in a queue for vaccination in front of a hospital as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Budapest, Hungary, November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo


BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary expects a substantial further increase in COVID-19 cases over the coming weeks due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said on Thursday.

Gulyas said the number of daily new cases would likely hit new all-time peaks, adding however that the government did not expect a similar increase in hospitalisations and deaths.

Hungary’s daily tally of new COVID-19 infections jumped to 9,216 on Thursday from 7,883 on Wednesday, but the number of patients treated in hospital declined.

In Hungary 40,164 people have died of COVID-19. There are 2,647 coronavirus patients in hospital now, including 249 on ventilators.

Gulyas said 75% of hospital beds allocated to potential COVID-19 patients were vacant and these 8,546 available beds could be further expanded if necessary.

“The government has also decided to shorten the required quarantine period to 7 days from 10 days,” Gulyas told a briefing, adding that people can leave the quarantine after 5 days with a negative COVID-19 test.

Just over six million of Hungary’s 10 million people have received at least two shots, and 3.3 million have also received a third booster, but the country’s vaccination rate still lags most western European levels.

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