In Europe, Hungary will be the first to be able to return to a normal life, but this does not mean that the epidemic has gone away, the prime minister stated on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’ on Friday.
Viktor Orban asked everyone to observe the rules that are necessary for a safe life.
So far 4,483,598 Hungarians have received the first dose of the vaccine. Already before the end of May – according to some, sometime around Whitsun – the number of first vaccinations could reach five million, and this is when the restrictions relating to wedding receptions, bigger events and the curfew can be lifted, said the prime minister, adding, however, that people will not be allowed to attend certain mass events without an immunity card until the beginning to middle of August.
Based on the number of persons who registered for vaccination, it is within the realm of possibility that the number of vaccinated persons will reach six million; however, this is up to the people, it is their individual decision and responsibility whether they have themselves vaccinated or not, the prime minister stressed.
Orban said the Left had performed shamefully as regards the issue of the pandemic. In an epidemic, the defence operation is a national cause, and in a situation like this, talking people out of having themselves vaccinated and generating an air of mistrust in connection with certain vaccines is more than a mere mistake, he said, pointing out that we must remember that when we are in trouble we cannot rely on the Left.
Regarding vaccination data – based on which Hungary is at present ranked tenth in the world and is number one in Europe – the prime minister took the view that while this is a fine achievement, this is a special race and cannot be looked upon as something other than a race for Hungarian people’s lives.
He stressed we must not allow a competitive spirit to become more important than what is at stake in this race, namely human lives. He also warned that we had not succeeded in saving everyone, “we have very grave losses,” and therefore while we talk about being number one in vaccination, compassion and assistance provided to help endure the pain must continue to remain the number one priority.
According to Orban, as regards vaccination, Western European countries are a month to two months behind Hungary, and there is no other state in the EU where there is such “shopping mall-like service” in the field of vaccines as there is in Hungary. While in Hungary young people aged between 16 and 18 years are being inoculated, in Western Europe it is still only the pensioners’ turn, the prime minister pointed out, saying thank you, at the same time, to young people for the fact that more than half of them enrolled for vaccination.
He said at present there are 944,000 persons who have registered, but have not yet had themselves inoculated with any of the available vaccines because – it is to be presumed – they are waiting for vaccines that are not currently available. He added that the Pfizer vaccine is now most in shortage. At the same time, once young people aged between 16 and 18 have been inoculated, every week around 150,000 persons over the age of 18 will have access to the Pfizer vaccine. According to the data outlined by the prime minister, every week, some 330,000 Pfizer vaccines arrive in the country, and around 180,000 to 185,000 of these must be set aside for second vaccinations.
The prime minister also reported that, according to the government’s task force responsible for vaccine management, the vaccines that may be necessary for a possible third vaccination “are already in the bag” and so if third vaccinations prove to be necessary, in the autumn and in the first quarter of next year, they will be able to supply the emerging needs.
He further announced that from Monday they will encourage Hungarians living outside Hungary “from Tierra del Fuego or Patagonia to Csikszereda” to register in Hungary if they want to have themselves inoculated, and they can get the vaccine here.
The prime minister said what he heard from research biologist Katalin Kariko, patentee of the technology of synthetic mRNA-based vaccines, during their meeting on Thursday enhances the country’s sense of security. The professor stated with certainty that the method developed by her research team will enable humanity to respond swiftly to the emergence of new virus mutations.
Talking about data concerning the economy, the prime minister highlighted that Hungary had reached the pre-crisis level in employment. He stressed that the curative work of physicians and nurses had greatly contributed to the performance of the economy as they had cured everyone who “could be humanly cured”. He said at present there are only 2,600 patients in hospital, including 338 requiring assisted ventilation, and 608,000 persons have recovered from coronavirus infection.
According to the prime minister, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga “put the budget together well,” “wired it together well” as this budget also includes expenditures such as the gradual reintroduction of the 13th monthly pension, the payment of a pension premium and tax exemption for workers under the age of 25.
He said the 2022 budget is capable of enabling Hungary to embark on an intensive course of growth by European standards, and so Hungary might come out of the crisis stronger than it was going in.
The prime minister also indicated that an operational group responsible for the restarting of the country will be set up within a week. This group will focus on the restarting of the economy and life beyond the economy under the supervision of two appropriate leaders.
Orban said family grants and benefits must be increased further, and tax relief and other grants must also be made available in connection with children in order to ensure that families are financially and predictably better-off if they decide to have more children than if they do not.