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Hungary looking at Russian and Chinese COVID-19 vaccines - PM aide

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has asked local health experts to look into the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia and China for possible later purchases, Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday.

Hungary has also committed to buy 6.5 million vaccines from AstraZeneca at a cost of 13 billion forints ($42.24 million) under a wider European Union agreement, Gergely Gulyas said at a news briefing.

Hungary reported a record 2,032 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing its total number of infections to 52,212, with 1,305 deaths.

Gulyas said the government planned no new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus and that schools would open as normal after the autumn break.

“The government is committed to keep schools running as normal,” he said.

Orban’s government has sought to avoid tougher restrictions on the economy after a spring lockdown sent the economy crashing by 13.6% in the second quarter, the worst in Central Europe.

($1 = 307.8 forints)

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Than; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky