Szijjarto: Supply deliveries to Hungary flowing

Protective gear is being delivered to Hungary continuously, and supplies from China continued to arrive during the Easter holidays, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told parliament on Tuesday.

In a speech, Szijjarto said last week saw 26 cargo planes delivering 13,207,000 face masks, 6,203,000 protective suits, 155,000 test kits and 101 ventilators to Hungary as part of the response to the novel coronavirus epidemic. Hungary has concluded contracts to procure over 148 million face masks, of which nearly 47 million have already arrived, the minister said. Of the contracted 3 million test kits, 352,000 have been delivered, as were over 20 million of the nearly 48 million hazmat suits, he said.

Further deliveries are expected this week, he added. The Hungarian government has agreed with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to accelerate stop-overs of cargo planes from China on their way to Hungary, he said.

Hungary has sent masks and protective gear to Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia as part of a “responsible neighbourhood policy”, Szijjarto said. “The better they can fight [the pandemic], the better Hungary’s situation,” he said. Hungarian communities across the borders in Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Slovenia have received a total of 710,000 face masks, 32,000 hazmat suits and 200,000 gloves, he said.

“Hungary has also provided assistance to Italy, which is currently in the worst position, with 100 thousand masks and 5 thousand pieces of protective clothing at the request of the Italian government”, he added.

The government’s priority is to provide all necessary equipment for doctors, nurses, police and soldiers fighting on the frontline of the epidemic, Szijjarto said.

Socialists call on govt to guarantee health care services for all in need

The opposition Socialists called on the government to ensure health care services for all patients in need, not only for those infected by the novel coronavirus. Lawmaker Ildiko Borbely Bango told an online press conference that Hungarians would “realise after the epidemic that treatment postponed due to Covid-19 caused more deaths than the epidemic itself”. Basic care cannot be suspended on the grounds of the epidemic, as access to basic healthcare is a right enshrined in the constitution, she said. Bango called the human resources minister’s decision to fire the directors of two hospitals over the weekend “politically motivated countdowns”. Meanwhile, the minister ordered hospitals to free 60 percent of their beds for potential coronavirus patients, a move Bango called “unjustified” in view of the official data published about the epidemic. Citing news reports, Bango protested against the discharging of “the seriously ill, even cancer patients” from hospitals.

The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) called on the government to stop the mass evacuation of hospitals to free beds for possible Covid-19 patients. Imre Laszlo, DK’s health specialist, said that while there were hardly more than 1,500 confirmed cases in the country, Human Resources Minister Miklos Kasler had instructed hospitals to free 36,000 beds, 60 percent of their total capacity. “Seriously ill patients are sent back home and long-planned operations are postponed; the government puts patients requiring 24-hour care to the street possibly diminishing their chances for survival,” Laszlo insisted. He added that if necessary, hospital beds could be released gradually, while mass evacuations are an “ill-considered” decision

Source: MTI,
Photo: MTI

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