Hungary, With Highest Covid Death Rate, Says Virus Peaked

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Hungary, the country that currently still has the world’s highest death rate from Covid-19, reported data that showed the virus has peaked, according to the country’s chief medical officer.

Hungary reported 1,645 new infections on Tuesday, the lowest level in almost two months. The number of patients being treated in hospitals has dropped by a third from the end of March and those on ventilators fell below 1,000 for the first time since mid-March, according to the latest data.

“Our pandemic data are improving, we’re seeing slight drops after reaching a plateau,” Chief Medical Officer Cecilia Muller said at a briefing.

The improvement is slow as the more aggressive Covid-19 variant first detected in the U.K., which is prevalent in Hungary, spreads rapidly and causes more severe symptoms that are difficult to treat, Muller said.

Hungary has recorded an average 171.2 deaths per million people in the seven days through April 19. While that’s still by far the worst globally, according to a Bloomberg compilation of data, it’s down 6% from the previous seven-day period, the biggest drop in almost two weeks.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has disregarded expert advice, including from doctors and epidemiologists, to take a go-slow approach to easing virus curbs.

Kindergartens and lower grades of primary school resumed in-person classes on Monday, while restaurant terraces are also set to open later this week once 3.5 million people, or a bit more than a third of the population, will have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Authorities will allow hotels, movie theaters and baths to reopen once 4 million have been given a Covid shot, Magyar Hirlap newspaper, which is close to the government, reported on Tuesday without saying where it got the information. Restaurants will also be able to open their indoor spaces then, the daily said on its website.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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