Hungary registers 4,238 new coronavirus cases as total tops 140,000

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BUDAPEST, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Hungary on Sunday registered 4,238 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 140,961, according to the government's coronavirus information website.

In the past 24 hours, another 107 people have died from the disease, taking the death toll to 3,097 in the country, while 31,599 have recovered. Currently, 7,013 patients are being treated in hospitals, and 569 of them are on ventilators.

"Healthcare workers welcomed the recent restriction measures because they expect they will lead to a reduction in the number of patients arriving at hospitals in the next 2-3 weeks. As a result, they could get much-needed rest," Bela Merkely, rector of Semmelweis University, a research-led medical school in Budapest, told MR1 public radio following the publication of the latest COVID-19 figures.

The mandatory wearing of masks outdoors is the latest in a series of measures coming into force from Wednesday, which also included a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and a switch to online education for secondary schools and universities.

Restaurants can stay open but only for takeaways, excepted for workplace cafeterias.

Hungary's COVID-19 cases have risen sharply since late August. The country's total cases topped 10,000 on Sept. 10, 50,000 on Oct. 21, 80,000 on Nov. 2 and 100,000 on Nov. 7.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pledged to procure COVID-19 vaccines, which will be made available to all citizens who want it. Orban said his administration was engaged in talks on purchasing vaccines from China and Russia, adding that Hungary could have access to two to three different vaccines by next spring.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 12, there were 212 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 48 of them were in clinical trials. Enditem

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