Hungary said on Wednesday it had registered 365 new COVID-19 infections, its highest daily tally on record, as people return from summer holidays and the school year starts up.
Hungary, with around 10 million people, weathered the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year with fewer infections than many European countries. The total number of cases, as of Wednesday, stood at 6,622, with 619 deaths.
But even as most people with the disease have recovered, the number of active cases has risen over the past week or so from the hundreds to 2,100 on Wednesday, and experts have warned of a spike in infections in coming weeks as schools reopen.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has closed borders to foreign visitors, though it has exempted citizens of three neighbouring central European nations – the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – from the ban, provided they test negative for the virus beforehand.
The European Union, which insists on uniform rules for all EU citizens crossing internal borders, has said the move is discriminatory and therefore illegal.
Hungary’s move to shut borders also prompted a review by European football association UEFA of plans to hold a Super Cup match in Budapest with spectators, the first such international game since the start of the pandemic, on Sept 24.