• EU member Hungary has reported almost 3,500 infections of the coronavirus and 448 deaths as of Saturday, with growth in both numbers gradually slowing this month.

BUDAPEST: Hungary said Saturday that restrictions on movement in Budapest will be relaxed from Monday, two weeks after lockdown rules were eased outside the capital.

A partial lockdown including a stay-at-home order introduced on March 28 would be lifted in Budapest as the “epidemic had also been beaten there" said Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

“We brilliantly won the first battle against the epidemic thanks to early-introduced measures, and to the discipline of citizens in the countryside and in the capital," said Orban in a Facebook message.

EU member Hungary, with a population of almost 10 million, has reported almost 3,500 infections of the coronavirus and 448 deaths as of Saturday, with growth in both numbers gradually slowing this month.

Curfew rules in the countryside were relaxed on May 4, but the government kept restrictions in Budapest and its surrounding area as most of Hungary's infections were reported there.

After consulting experts, the government decided that Budapest should follow a similar timetable as more rural areas, said Orban.

From Monday, the open spaces of restaurants and hotels in the capital can open, along with parks and playgrounds and zoos, said a minister Gergely Gulyas later.

Shops will now be allowed to stay open after 15:00 for as long as they want, although an early morning three-hour slot reserved for over-65s will remain, said Gulyas.

Wearing face masks will remain obligatory in shops and on public transport, while a 1.5-metre social distancing rule in public places remains.

Orban was granted controversial emergency powers by parliament in March to rule by decree with no time limit.

Those powers, which triggered fears at home and abroad of a power grab by Orban, would be withdrawn at the end of May if the situation continues to improve, said Gulyas.