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Hungary's Opposition Leader Marki-Zay Tests Positive For COVID-19 Amid Election Race

Peter Marki-Zay

The Hungarian opposition's joint candidate for prime minister says he has tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of general elections in April.

Peter Marki-Zay said on his official Facebook page on January 19 that he had begun to quarantine, though he was feeling “fine” with only mild symptoms resembling a common cold.

Marki-Zay said he has received three vaccination shots against COVID-19 and was hoping to get back on the campaign trail in five days if he has a negative test.

Hungary will hold elections on April 3 in what is expected to be a tough test for Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been in power since 2010, and his right-wing government.

Recent polls suggest a close race against Marki-Zay, behind whom multiple opposition parties agreed to unite.

Marki-Zay’s announcement comes as Hungary's daily tally of new COVID-19 infections jumped to a record 14,890.

As many as 40,686 people have died of the disease in the country of 10 million and currently there are 2,645 coronavirus patients in the hospital, including 208 on ventilators.

The percentage of the population that has received two vaccine doses is 61.5 percent, compared to 69.4 percent for all EU states.

There are only limited restrictions in place and schools are operating normally nationwide, though the wearing of protective masks is mandatory in some indoor places and on public transport.

With reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL's Hungarian Service
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