Hungary to extend pandemic restrictions till March 1

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Hungary's government will extend pandemic restrictions now in place for another month until March 1, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Gulyás said the government agreed with experts that "any easing" of restrictions would bring a new wave of infections and lead to stricter measures.

He said the government would extend a state of emergency under its own scope of power for 15 days from midnight on February 7, and then ask Parliament to approve a 90-day extension, as required by law.

Gulyás said COVID-19 vaccine approval would be expedited for vaccines that have already been granted emergency approval in other countries and have been used on more than 1 million people.

Noting that the minimum wage will rise by about 4% from February 1 under an agreement reached days earlier between employers and unions, Gulyás said fostered workers' wages would rise too, to HUF 85,000 a month for unskilled laborers and to HUF 110,000 for skilled workers.

Gulyás said the government would call a tender for HUF 45 bln in support for shops in small settlements to add pharmacy or postal services or expand their inventories with OTC medicines.

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