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Health News

Hungary to reschedule some hospital operations as pandemic spreads: PM Orban

FILE PHOTO: Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the European Union leaders face-to-face summit in Brussels, Belgium October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary will try to avoid closing schools as long as possible but some medical operations will have to be rescheduled as hospital beds are filling up with coronavirus patients, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Based on current predictions, Orban said, Hungary will need 2,240 intensive beds with ventilators for patients by Nov. 21, and 4,480 intensive beds by Dec. 10.

“This is around the limit of our capacities ... as this implies 30,000 to 32,000 coronavirus patients on hospital beds,” Orban told state radio.

“We could still manage that but we have made decisions today... that if infections go beyond this limit there should be designated places ...outside hospitals if needed, where patients can get appropriate care.”

Orban said a decision about rescheduling some operations will come “within days or within hours” to free up hospital beds.

Hungary closed dance clubs and imposed a night-time curfew earlier this week to curb a rapid spread of coronavirus infections.

Trying to minimise further harm to the recession-hit economy, Orban’s nationalist government has so far refrained from imposing strict lockdown measures.

Schools remain open, as well as all shops and restaurants, and soccer games will continue to be played in front of thousands of spectators nationwide.

Hungary reported 3,928 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, while the daily death toll was 84. That brings the total number of infections to date in the country of 10 million to 94,916, with 2,147 deaths.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Kim Coghill and Gareth Jones

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