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Aug 07, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: Everyone must assist in the defense against the coronavirus

In his regular slot on public radio, Prime Minister Orbán spoke about the importance of a collective defense against the coronavirus, the link between the epidemic and illegal migration, the national consultation and Hungary’s improving employment figures.

 

Kicking off his interview this morning on Hungary’s public Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Orbán asked all citizens to assist in the defense against the coronavirus, as “the quality of a country’s defense is not determined by the government, but by a society’s level of intelligence.” The government, however, tries to lead by example and has canceled events like the August 20 fireworks, which, according to PM Orbán, would have been legally possible but would have carried a disproportionately high risk factor.

“Following the government session on Wednesday, we had to move Spain to the yellow category,” the prime minister said referring to Hungary’s current system of travel restrictions, which puts countries into different categories based on their coronavirus risk factor. PM Orbán added that it is important to see the difference between certain neighboring countries and advised Hungarians “not to go too far” if they have to go abroad. “Slovakia is safe, Austria is doing fine, Slovenia and Croatia are safe. But our other three neighbors are not.”

Speaking about the potential booster shot against the coronavirus, PM Orbán said “Hungary has ordered nearly 5 million vaccines” to make sure that “if there is a vaccine, we will have it, too.” In the prime minister’s view, because the antidote is being developed in multiple countries and multiple laboratories, there will be voices saying that one vaccine is better than the other. This is why, PM Orbán said, he requested that the minister responsible for healthcare provide a clear, expert opinion on the subject as soon as the first vaccine appears on the market to avoid confusion.

The prime minister also responded to a question on the connection between illegal migration and the coronavirus, a topic that has recently resurfaced, as a group of more than 100 illegals attempted to cross our border with Serbia earlier this week. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that while it is not true that all migrants are infected, we need to view them as potentially infectious because we don’t know who they are.

“All migrants who attempt to cross into Hungary illegally without a health check do not simply violate Hungary’s laws but are also a concrete threat to Hungarian citizens,” PM Orbán said, adding that he asked the interior minister to order police officers and soldiers to increase efforts to counter such illegal border-crossings because they are now a health hazard as well.

“At the start of the pandemic, the government committed itself to creating as many jobs as the coronavirus destroys. We haven’t yet reached that goal, but we have a good chance of achieving it in the autumn so that we can finally say that there are more Hungarians working today than there were before the pandemic,” the PM said about the country’s recent employment trends.

On the ongoing national consultation about the coronavirus, illegal migration and the economy, Prime Minister Orbán said that 1.4 million surveys have already been returned — a “very high number,” which signals booming interest. This is why the government decided to extend the August 15 deadline for sending back the questionnaires to the end of August.