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Feb 05, 2021 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán on Kossuth Rádió: We will vaccinate everyone over 60 years of age by March 15

“We have arrived at a turning point: In the past, the virus was on the offense and we were on the defense – now, we will be on the offense and the virus will have to play defense,” PM Orbán said referring to the increasing number of vaccinations in Hungary.

In his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán began by sharing the most up-to-date number of those vaccinated in Hungary. “There are 264,530 people who have been inoculated against the coronavirus, plus 275,764 who have already overcome the disease and thus gained protection against it,” the prime minister said.

“By early March, the number of those who have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, plus the number of those who have recovered, will reach 1 million,” PM Orbán said, adding that the government plans to vaccinate everyone over 60 years of age in Hungary by March 15. Moving forward, according to PM Orbán, we will be able to inoculate 2 million people by early April.

Responding to concerns, mainly from Hungary’s bar and restaurant owners, Prime Minister Orbán said that while he does “feel the urge” to do something, the government must act “carefully, responsibly and according to a plan.” 

Wide-scale vaccination is essential to the reopening of the economy, PM Orbán said before announcing that the government will initiate an online consultation regarding the “tough questions surrounding the reopening.” PM Orbán noted that after defeating the first wave of the virus, he launched a national consultation, which contributed immensely to the management of a second and potentially a third wave.

On Hungary’s groundbreaking, new Action Plan to Reboot the Economy, Prime Minister Orbán said that the previous economic protection measures have now handed the floor over to an economic reboot. “The most important number, one that illustrates the success of our economic protection, is that there were at least as many people in employment in December 2020 as in 2019,” the prime minister said.

The government’s plan to reboot the economy, according to the premier, will take place in three phases. “In early April, we will make significant decisions about the transformation of Hungary’s higher education system. We are talking about HUF 1.5-2 trillion (EUR 4.2-5.6 billion). In mid-July, we will announce measures on green energy and the circular economy as well as an agricultural and rural development program of a magnitude that has never been seen before,” the PM explained.

Coming to his closing remarks, Prime Minister Orbán compared the pandemic-related economic slump in Hungary to other countries, stating that its drop of no more than 6 percent places Hungary among the top performers in the EU, overtaking the likes of Austria and Germany.