Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the government has decided to introduce the special legal order again, and to ask Parliament to extend this extraordinary situation by 90 days, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in a video message posted on his Facebook account on Tuesday.
He said between midnight and 5 a.m. the government will introduce restrictions on movement. “By midnight everyone will have to return home,” he said. In his extraordinary announcement, Orban also said they will shut down clubs and nightlife venues because based on the Operational Group’s report, it is simply impossible to enforce the observation of the rules in these places.
On public transport, in the interest of reducing overcrowding, they have ordered the introduction of more frequent services, while they have made parking free again, the PM outlined.
At events, sports events, in cinemas and theatres, audience members will only be allowed to be seated in every third seat, and the wearing of face masks will be compulsory. The authorities will check every event, if necessary, they will impose fines, and will close down places where the rules are not observed, Orban said.
“Those who fail to observe the rules, who do not wear face masks, who do not keep a safe distance could put not only their own lives at risk, but also those of others,” he stressed.
After the cabinet meeting – where they reviewed the epidemic situation as regards both Hungary and Europe – Orban said the spread of the virus had accelerated; in Austria, the number of infections falling on one million persons is now one and a half times that of Hungary, while “West of Austria the situation is even worse”.
He said this is important because, based on their experience, Hungary follows Austria at a delay of five to seven days. If this proves to be the case, by mid-December hospitals could reach the limits of their capacities, he said.
He took the view that also now – the same as in the spring – the epidemic mostly poses a threat to the lives of the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, “meaning that our parents and grandparents are facing a serious risk”.
The PM said the time has come to adopt further measures to protect the continued operation of our hospitals and the lives of the elderly.
He said political disputes must be put aside for now; “we will need swift action and timely measures”. He recalled that also on the latest occasion, it had taken Parliament two weeks to adopt laws which made the violation of the rules relating to the wearing of face masks punishable. “This is absurd, in the present situation it is especially absurd,” he stated. “If the spread of the virus is fast, we must be fast as well,” Orban said justifying the repeated introduction of the special legal order.
The prime minister also highlighted that they are increasing the pay of physicians; the equipment necessary for the fight against the virus is at the disposal of hospitals; as regards the number of hospital beds, we are ranked third in Europe, while in respect of the number of ventilators “we are number one in the world”. “Our physicians and nurses continue to do their jobs to the highest world standards, and are doing everything they can to cure patients,” he stressed.
This is much, almost superhuman, but not enough nonetheless. “The ultimate solution is the vaccine, and the vaccine is already within reach. […] We must hold on until the vaccine arrives,” he said, indicating that Hungary is negotiating with the European Union, Russia, China and also Israel.
Concluding his video statement, Orban said the situation is serious, but in the spring we already did it once before. “If we stand together and observe the rules, together we will succeed again,” he stated.