In the present coronavirus situation, self-control continues to remain the most powerful weapon, and if people are able to sufficiently distance themselves from one another, this will work, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his Good Friday interview on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’.
Regarding the indefinite extension of restrictions on movement, the prime minister said conditions greatly vary from settlement to settlement, and these cannot be regulated by means of a national decision. This is why they decided to uphold the restrictions on movement, while giving mayors the opportunity to introduce further restrictions if necessary locally.
The government decided on the extension of restrictions on movement on Thursday. In this regard, the PM said we are proceeding from the group phase of the infection to the phase of mass incidences, and he waited to see if more stringent measures were required due to a possible deterioration in the situation.
In the context of the epidemic, Orban also said he can see that there are countries which are “already heading towards the exit”; however, in Hungary he “cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel”. At the same time, from Hungary’s point of view he described Austria as “a large laboratory” because there, due to its proximity to Italy, everything is happening earlier than in Hungary. Therefore, they are closely monitoring which measures have come up to expectations in Austria and which have not, and similar disease control measures should be adopted here after a thorough assessment.
He said he regards the containment effort as successful inasmuch as that they have slowed down the spread of the epidemic, and as a result, they have gained time. However, “the great trial, the real test is yet to come”.
Concerning Easter and the lack of family gatherings at this time, Orban said we must try to accept that this Easter will be different from the Easters we are used to.
The PM also spoke about the opposition, pointing out that even during an epidemic they can only focus on ways to weaken the government and to get into government. This is “a fine ambition, but for the time being they can’t even cope with the operation of an elderly care home,” he observed, recommending that they should “practise” in places where they have responsibilities, for instance, in the capacity of mayor.
In the radio interview, the PM was also asked about the economy protection measures necessitated by the coronavirus epidemic. Regarding these, Orban said while the Left’s crisis management recipe was austerity – as part of which they took money away from pensioners, state employees and families –, after 2010 the government set out in the opposite direction, and placed jobs at the centre of attention. Also today, the main goal, the underlying principle of crisis management is to create as many jobs as will be destroyed by the virus, he stressed, adding that he would not like to return to the era of a benefit-based economy and debts.
Later today the prime minister attended the video conference of the Turkic Council and visited a hospital.