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Hungary Eases COVID-19 Restrictions For Those Who Are Vaccinated

A nurse administers the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to a patient in Nagykanizsa on April 13.
A nurse administers the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to a patient in Nagykanizsa on April 13.

BUDAPEST -- Hungary will loosen coronavirus restrictions for holders of a government-issued immunity card as Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the country is about to reach 4 million first-dose vaccinations, representing about 40 percent 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,” Orban told public radio on April 30, saying the country had enough vaccine doses to inoculate everyone who has registered for them.

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“The vaccine is like a bulletproof vest. The virus bounces off of it,” he said. "We now have one for everybody. Please come and suit up so the virus has no one to attack."

In the latest round of reopening, card holders may access indoor restaurants, hotels, theaters, cinemas, spas, gyms, libraries, museums, zoos, and other recreational venues from May 1.

Opening hours for businesses will also be extended to 11 p.m.

Hungary is mainly relying on vaccines from China and Russia that have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency, alongside Western vaccines.

The country has the second-highest vaccination rate in the European Union, but a pandemic surge in the spring has given it the highest total death rate in the world.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters
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