Education in secondary schools with physical attendance will start on 10 May, the prime minister stated on Friday. On Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary,’ Viktor Orban said the Operational Group also decided that, similar to last year, final examinations would only be comprised of a series of written tests.
The PM said this is also important because the final examinations play a part in admission to university. In order to make the competition fair between those who took their final examinations last year and those about to take theirs this year, it is important to harmonise the two sets of examinations.
Regarding the coronavirus epidemic, Orban stressed that the British mutation was much more aggressive and destructive than the virus we had got to know during the first wave of the epidemic. During the first phase, lockdowns and isolation were in themselves capable of wiping out the epidemic for two to three months. The British variant is not like that, lockdowns can only slow down the spread of the virus which can only be destroyed with the vaccine.
We have lived “amidst war-like conditions” for a year. Only our grandparents had first-hand experience of this, we only read about them in history books and saw them in films: restrictions, a curfew, deaths, people in hospital, rationing was about the only thing that did not happen, and our money “hasn’t been eaten away by hyperinflation,” he said.
Sooner or later, people get fed up with war, even if they did not start it, and long for peaceful conditions, joy, calm and the ability to plan ahead. According to the opinion of the government’s experts, peace will finally set in once we have defeated the virus with vaccination, the PM stated.
He said registration is making good progress; on Thursday, the number of those having registered for vaccination exceeded four million. However, this is still not enough, and so the government is launching a campaign; they asked celebrities to encourage as many people as possible to have themselves vaccinated.
Soon, the number of those having received the first dose of the vaccine will reach three million, and it will reach four million by the beginning of May. Within seven to ten days of the beginning of May, another one million vaccines will be administered, by mid-May, the number of those having received their first vaccine will reach six million, and by the third week of May, seven million, he said.
He added that by the beginning of June, we will have been able to vaccinate seven million of the eight million Hungarian citizens of age who can receive the vaccine. He indicated that his concern is that there will not be as many registered people who want to have themselves vaccinated as vaccines.
The European Football Championship – in which Hungary is also among the contestants – will start in mid-June. By then, everyone who registered will have been vaccinated, and so those holding immunity certificates will be able to attend the event, the prime minister stated.
He also said the vaccination programme is one of the biggest logistic operations in the history of the country. In the case of each of the five vaccines licensed and used in Hungary, there are different intervals between the first and second doses. Each already administered vaccine must have a pair somewhere in a warehouse so that people receive the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. The apparatus involved in the vaccination campaign is much more extensive than people tend to believe. Hungary is doing very well, overtaking the rest of the countries of the European Union by far, the PM stated.
Regarding the procurement of vaccines, he said racing against time in order to save as many lives as possible was a personal concern of his. In Brussels, there was a repeat of what happened in the case of migration, “an unexpected situation emerged, and by the time they realised this would lead to problems, they were already in the midst of them”.
If there is no EU solution, we need national solutions. There must be a plan B, there must be another script, and that was the procurement of Chinese and Russian vaccines, the PM said, adding that time justified us, we made the right decision, we have vaccinated twice as many people in relation to the total population as Western European countries have.
The conclusion is that “when it comes to our own lives and our own fate, we must take responsibility,” he said.
He indicated that people had observed the restrictions with exemplary discipline, there were hardly any cars and people in the streets, even in Budapest, beyond eight o’clock. While in Western Europe, demonstrations and deliberate breaches have been daily occurrences, the Hungarian people have cooperated with the disease control experts and the authorities overseeing the state of danger in an exemplary manner.
He stressed that every step of reopening depended on the number of vaccinated people. At the same time, we must also pay attention to the epidemic data because that is what determines the speed.
The national consultation clearly designated the steps that must be taken one after the other: the reopening of schools can be followed by the reopening of restaurants, hotels, pay cultural and sports events, cinemas and fitness centres, in that order. We are close to the point where cultural and community events will again be available to those who hold immunity certificates, the prime minister said.
The Left are anti-vaccination, they submitted a proposal to Parliament which was going to ban the Chinese and Russian vaccines. If Parliament had passed this bill, several hundreds or thousands more would have died, Orban said, pointing out that it is hypocritical that while left-wing politicians are having themselves vaccinated, they are trying to talk people out of it.
Regarding the sacking of Hertha BSC’s goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry, the Prime Minister pointed out that today liberal politics in Europe was oppressive. Mr Petry was punished with having been sacked from his job because he does not share the views that others approve of. Hungary will be a serious, strong and successful country if it observes certain laws, including that not a single Hungarian will be left behind, the PM stated. In his words, Mr Petry is not alone, we all stand with him. Recent incidents could compromise the unity that exists within the national team as well as between the team and its supporters, but the manager and captain of the team are capable of restoring that unity, Orban said.