WORLD Hungary's COVID-19 cases top 50,000; justice minister tests positive

WORLD

Hungary's COVID-19 cases top 50,000; justice minister tests positive

Xinhua

22:43, October 21, 2020

People wait for a tram in front of a poster reminding people of wearing masks in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 23, 2020. (Photo: Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)

Hungary on Wednesday registered 1,423 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 50,180, according to the government's coronavirus information website.

In the 24 hours, a further 48 people had succumbed to the disease, taking the death toll to 1,259 in Hungary, while 14,905 have made a recovery. Currently, 2,023 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospital, 201 of whom are on ventilators.

"The virus is spreading dynamically throughout Europe," the website said when publishing the latest figures, adding that the goal of the Hungarian government was to keep the country functioning and not let the virus paralyze everyday life.

Hungarian Minister of Justice Judit Varga said late Tuesday that she tested positive for COVID-19. "I currently have mild respiratory symptoms. As of today, my family and I are at home quarantine and working from home, not attending a government meeting," she added.

Varga is the first minister-level member of the Hungarian government to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Hungary's coronavirus cases have risen sharply since late August. The country's total COVID-19 cases topped 10,000 on Sept. 10, 20,000 on Sept. 23, 30,000 on Oct. 4 and 40,000 on Oct. 14.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pledged that Hungary will procure a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which will be made available to all citizens who want it.

Orban explained that his administration was conducting talks with the United States, Japan, China and Russia on vaccine procurement. Hungary had also contributed to research programs funded by the European Union.

As the world is in struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe are racing to find a vaccine. According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 19, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 44 of them were in clinical trials.

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