Hungarians with immunity card to benefit as restrictions ease
Hungary will loosen several Covid-19 pandemic restrictions for holders of a government-issued immunity card in the latest round of reopenings that the government has tied to the number of administered vaccines.
Beginning on Saturday morning, card holders may access indoor dining rooms, hotels, theatres, cinemas, spas, gyms, libraries, museums and other recreational venues.
Opening hours for businesses will also be extended to 11pm, and the start of an overnight curfew in place since November will be extended until midnight.
The country’s prime minister Viktor Orban says the reopening comes as Hungary reaches four million first-dose vaccinations, representing about 40% of the population.
“In the past, we defended ourselves by closing, thereby slowing the spread of the virus.
“But now we are on the attack,” he said.
“The vaccine is like a bulletproof vest, the virus bounces off of it.”
On Thursday, foreign minister Peter Szijjarto announced that travel between Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro would be permitted without quarantine or testing requirements for immunity card holders from those countries.
Negotiations for similar agreements are under way with Greece and Israel, Mr Szijjarto said.
Hungary is the only country in the European Union to use vaccines from China and Russia in addition to Western jabs.
It has the second highest vaccination rate in the EU, but a devastating pandemic surge in the spring has given it the highest total death rate per one million inhabitants in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.