Hungary’s 2021 population drop steepest since WWII, Europe relaxes rules

Madrid Desk, Feb 7 (EFE).- Hungary last year suffered its steepest peace-time population drop since 1876, as the central European nation registered the fourth highest Covid-19 mortality rate per capita in the world.

A total of 153,000 people died in Hungary last year, the highest figure since the end of World War II, according to preliminary data published by tracking sites Worldometers and Our World in Data.

Of these, 29,649 died of Covid-19 complications, meaning Hungary is behind only Peru, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of coronavirus deaths per capita.

Hungary’s Covid-19 mortality rates are currently four times higher than the European Union average, despite its infection figures being lower than other members of the bloc.


Elsewhere in Europe a host of nations slackened restrictions that were hastily reintroduced amid a strong wave of Covid-19 infections fueled by the contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

In a bid to keep schools open, Italy on Monday cut the number of quarantine days for those who have come into contact with an infected person.

Unvaccinated school pupils will be asked to isolate for five days instead of 10, while the vaccinated are exempted from quarantine altogether.

The new rules will apply to both primary and secondary schools and come as vaccination rates among young people continue to increase at a steady pace.

The North African nation of Morocco on Monday ended a travel ban after suspending international flights for two months in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

The decision to reopen its borders came with “the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the kingdom,” the government said in a statement.

The ban, which came into force on 29 November, had left thousands stranded abroad after a mechanism for Moroccans to travel home was suspended in December.

The travel ban also aggravated the crisis in the tourism sector, on which Morocco heavily depends.

Neighbouring Spain agreed on Monday to end the mandatory use of face masks outdoors as part of a wider plan to ease coronavirus restrictions as infection ebbs.

The government is expected to approve the measure on Tuesday.

The mandatory use of face masks was reintroduced on Christmas Eve last year after a sixth wave of coronavirus infections caused a record number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.

Despite cases still being very high, the rate has been decreasing in recent days.

Capacity in outdoor stadiums will also increase from 75 to 85% and from 50 to 75% in indoor venues.EFE


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