Hungary will lift mask-wearing requirements once 5.5 million people have been inoculated against Covid-19, the prime minister’s chief of staff said.
As a general rule, masks will no longer be required indoors and people will be allowed to go to hotels, restaurants, baths and water parks without an immunity certificate once vaccinations reach 5.5 million, Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing. He added, at the same time, that masks will remain mandatory in the health-care sector. The use of immunity certificates will be maintained for mass events, such as sports events, concerts, festivals and night clubs, he said. Gulyás also said that the European Union’s Digital Green Certificate for Covid immunity will enter into force in Hungary as well on July 1.
Paper certificates will also be available at government offices or can be printed out from the government’s Client Gate electronic administration portal. The government will launch an information campaign on the certificate next Monday, he added. On another subject, Gulyás cited virologists as saying that all Covid vaccines were effective against the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Gulyás also said that Hungary’s high Covid death rate needed to be investigated. Looking at data from the beginning of the year, it is clear that central European countries had been dealing with higher death rates, he said, adding that this was likely due to central Europeans being in poorer health than western Europeans. Though most deaths in the third wave of the pandemic were reported in the central European region, Hungary had the lowest death rate in this part of the continent, Gulyás said. In response to a question, he said it was possible that the government would be forced to bring back restrictions in the event of a fourth wave. He said that though the vaccine would not be made mandatory by the state, certain employers could mandate their employees to get the shot in order to work on site.
Normal procedures have been reinstated at Hungary’s public road border crossings and there will be no border controls at Hungary’s internal Schengen borders with Slovenia, Slovakia and Austria, Gulyás said. The pre-pandemic rules will apply at the borders with Romania, Croatia and Serbia, with no need for health controls, and the current rules will remain in force at the border with Ukraine, he added. Hungarians will be able to visit the most popular summer holiday destinations without restrictions, he said. Certain countries are applying the same rules they applied last summer in terms of categorising countries according to their infection rates, Gulyás said, adding that Hungary was considered a low-risk country.
As regards the new National Consultation public survey set to be launched next week, Gulyás said it will focus on life after the pandemic and in addition to questions about the economy, it will also cover the recently adopted anti-paedophile law. The survey will include questions concerning plans to raise the minimum wage to 200,000 forints (EUR 570), provide tax rebates to families and extend a loan moratorium, Gulyás noted.
In another development, Gulyás said that the government was moving ahead with plans to organise the public celebrations and evening fireworks show August 20 national holiday. “As things stand, it looks like it will be safe to hold the August 20 celebrations and the fireworks display,” he said.
Concerning the economy, Gulyás said that post-pandemic recovery has inflationary effects all over the world. The ways of rebooting the economy is a matter of disputes in other EU member states and the United States, too, he said. The government sees the central bank’s instruments as sufficient for preventing substantial inflationary risks, Gulyás said, adding that the 2022 inflation forecasts of 3-4% are realistic.