Hungary could vaccinate 7 mln by start of June

Government

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Hungary will be able to inoculate 7 million of its citizens against the coronavirus by early June, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a weekly interview on public radio on Friday.

Days after passing the 2.5 million inoculation threshold that triggered the start of the easing of pandemic restrictions, Orbén said on Kossuth Rádió that the 3 million mark would be reached "soon" and 4 million Hungarians would get a COVID jab "at the beginning of May".

"Within one week to ten days, from the beginning of May...we'll be at 5 million...then by mid-May, we'll reach 6 million, then by the third week of May 7 million," he added.

"So by the beginning of June I can say that of the 8 million Hungarian adults...we will be able to inoculate 7 million by the beginning of June," Orbán said.

Orbán said more than 4 million Hungarians have registered to be inoculated at present.

The PM said all Hungarians registered to be inoculated would be "certain to get the vaccine" by the time Budapest hosts UEFA EURO 2020 matches in June. He added that fans would have the chance to go to the matches with a certification of immunity against the coronavirus. 

Budapest's recently completed Puskás Aréna, a UEFA category 4 stadium that can seat close to 68,000, is scheduled to host four UEFA EURO 2020 matches. They include Group F matches on June 15, 19, and 23 and a Round of 16 match on June 27. The UEFA EURO 2020 was postponed a year because of the pandemic.

Orbán said the Operative Corps, the body coordinating Hungary's response to the pandemic, had decided to re-open secondary schools on May 10, after matriculation examinations take place.

Earlier, secondary schools were expected to re-open with primary schools, on April 19.

The PM said teachers had been vaccinated and the Army had disinfected schools, but explained that it "wouldn't be worth it" to re-open secondary schools for a few days, then close them again for the matriculation exam break.

"It's simpler if we start in-person teaching at secondary schools on May 10," he added.

Orbán said the Operative Corps had also decided that there would be no oral section for this year's matriculation exam, only a written one.

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