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May 07, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Gergely Gulyás: The government is protecting people against the coronavirus at all costs

At today’s Government Info press conference, Minister Gulyás clarified the new movement restrictions and reported on some economic issues as well.

 

Starting the Government Infopress conference today, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, reported that “the infection has slowed down, the number of new confirmed cases is declining, but regional differences are still present,” adding that “restarting [normal] life can take place only on a strict schedule.”

Clarifying the new rules on movement restrictions, the minister said that Budapest and Pest County are not locked down, the government’s standpoint has not changed, and residents from the capital and Pest County can visit their homes in the countryside as long as they follow all government and local, municipal guidelines.

Touching upon economic measures, Gulyás noted that since the Kurzarbeit system was launched, 3,000 companies have claimed wage subsidies for 46,000 employees, adding that “the government wants no one to be unemployed for more than three months.” To achieve this, he continued, “the government will increase the number of public employees and the number of contracted military personnel, and state-sponsored retraining will begin.”

On the matter of taxes, the minister said that the government has already decided which sectors can benefit from tax exemptions and reductions. “So far, these measures have concerned those most affected by the coronavirus crisis,” he said. Regarding Hungary’s GDP, Gergely Gulyás said that GDP growth forecasts differ widely but that the government would willingly bear a greater recession in order to protect lives and protect people against the coronavirus, no matter the cost.

Responding to questions, the minister said that current restrictions will remain in force until May 18, or sometime in June at the latest, but tourism can hopefully restart even earlier in the countryside. The minister also emphasized that for those arriving to Hungary from another country, “the two-week compulsory home quarantine must be followed; this rule remains in force.” In the case of trips abroad already booked, Gulyás advised people to follow normal civil procedures for obtaining refunds if not able to travel because of the epidemic.