BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary reported a record 12,637 new daily cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 1.045 million with 33,519 deaths, according to a government tally on Wednesday.
Hungary, a country of 10 million people with a lower vaccination rate than the European Union average, imposed new restrictions last Thursday, a day before the announcement of a full lockdown in Austria neighbor, which also has a relatively low vaccination rate.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which opposes further containment measures for fear of stifling the economy, launched a vaccination campaign this week, offering vaccines without prior registration amid rising news infections.
Data on Wednesday showed 5.81 million people, or just under 60% of the population, were fully immunized, while 2.04 million received boosters.
Hungary has made recalls mandatory for healthcare workers and masks have been made mandatory again in most indoor locations since Saturday. The changes fall short of the stringent measures advocated by Hungarian doctors.
Orban’s government has also allowed companies to make COVID-19 injections mandatory for their workers. Drugmaker Richter and oil and gas group MOL have already announced that they will do so.
The idea of compulsory vaccinations, however, raised concerns among Hungarians, with some expressing reservations when they were already vaccinated.
“Making the vaccine mandatory is a difficult thing because it could severely limit people, including earning a living, so I think such a decision should be taken very carefully,” Zsuzsanna Koszoru said as she stood in line for a reminder.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)