Mon, 19 Apr 2021

BUDAPEST, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A high level of preparedness has been ordered in Hungarian hospitals due to the growing number of COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio MR1 Friday.

"The number of infections is expected to grow dramatically in the next two weeks. This is why a high level of preparedness had to be ordered in hospitals," Orban said.

"Now, once again we must keep count of empty hospital beds, ventilators and professionals because the numbers are about to get dramatically worse," warned the prime minister.

Hospitals will now return to the same level of preparedness they maintained last April and November, Orban underlined.

He also added that vaccines purchased from the European Union (EU) were arriving slower than expected, and that Hungary would find itself in "big trouble" were it not for the Chinese and Russian vaccines secured outside of the EU's common acquisitions.

According to Orban, the coming days would decide how to change the current rules. Stepping up security at the borders is one area under consideration.

"At the borders, tightening is definitely needed due to the strong outbreak of the epidemic," Orban said, adding that because of the mutations, which cause the rapid spread of the epidemic, trips outside Europe, even for business purposes, have to be radically restricted.

Hungary currently has stocks of vaccines from five producers, including China's Sinopharm. The first shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Budapest on Feb. 16.

Hungary has already started to administer the Sinopharm vaccine as a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic looms, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

The country on Friday registered 4,668 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 419,182, according to official data.

In the past 24 hours, 123 people have died from the disease, taking the toll to 14,795 in the country, while 317,899 have recovered. Currently, 5,027 patients are being treated in hospitals, including 451 on ventilators, figures from the government's coronavirus information website showed.

As of Friday, 521,283 people had received at least the first shot of a vaccine, while 240,622 had two jabs, according to the website.

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