Hungary’s Doctors Plead for Harsh Lockdown as Deaths Hit Records

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Hungary reported a record 252 daily coronavirus deaths, with doctors urging the government to implement tougher curbs to ease the unprecedented pressure on hospitals.

The eastern European country currently has the world’s second-highest level of deaths as a share of the population after the Czech Republic, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The country has run out of doctors and nurses to deal with a record number of Covid-19 patients, forcing hospitals to put out a call for volunteers without any medical training.

The government should immediately shut shopping malls, limit the number of customers at stores which are still operating and ban groups of more than three people in public spaces, except for families, the Hungarian Doctors’ Association said in a statement on Monday. It also asked Hungarians to stay away from popular parks and refrain from visiting family during the upcoming Easter holiday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban was late to implement tougher curbs in the third wave of the pandemic and even a tighter form of lockdown that took effect earlier this month -- including shutting schools for a month -- has trailed those in countries with similar virus trends. Despite the rising death toll, the government recently went ahead with a “national consultation” on plans to reopen the economy, which it said it could start doing in weeks once a quarter of the population is inoculated against Covid-19.

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