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Jan 08, 2021 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: Restrictions to stay in force until February

Only a few vaccines have been received so far to vaccinate just 80,000 people, and the virus situation in Europe remains serious, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, explaining why the current epidemiological measures had been extended until February 1.

 

Arriving straight from a Coronavirus Operational Group meeting, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán began his regular, Friday morning radio interview on Kossuth Rádió by reporting that 42,549 healthcare workers have already been vaccinated. Resistance to the vaccine, that is, those who do not trust it or do not want to be vaccinated for other reasons, is also steadily declining. But “so far only 80,000 vaccines have been received, which is very few, so the Operational Group has extended the existing restrictions until February 1. Thus, the nighttime curfew and online education for high schools also remain in place.”

Talking about the current rules, the prime minister recalled that “our crisis management is different from that in Western Europe, where the rules often change. Hungary, on the other hand, has a predictable system. Predictability is as important as efficiency; therefore, we do not want to change rules often.”

Regarding the number of deaths, he said that each country treats death statistics differently, so it is difficult to compare the numbers. “From the difference [between countries] in mortality figures for 2020 and 2019, based on the number of deaths due to the coronavirus, Hungary performed better than Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.”

PM Orbán also emphasized that the vaccine is the only thing that can put an end to the pandemic. “Unfortunately, the EU’s purchase of vaccines has been very slow, so Hungary carries on negotiations with Israel, Russia and China as well because if we wait, the vulnerable situation we currently have will persist,” he said. The PM also took the opportunity to note that “Only competencies that we are certain will be better handled at the EU level should be transferred to Brussels.”

Touching upon the economy, the prime minister pointed out that “dozens of economic measures have been put in place that are working. The most important indicator is employment data, according to which the number of jobs lost is 26,000, while nearly 4.5 million people are working.” Prime Minister Orbán then added what he has stated before: “We seek to not simply restore the number of jobs lost but to create more than the virus has destroyed.”

“I want 2021 to be a remarkably good year for Hungarians and to come out of this economic crisis ahead of countries that we were previously behind,” PM Orbán said. “The main direction,” he continued, “in addition to not neglecting wage subsidies is to support investments, because jobs come from investments, and companies are the ones that give people jobs.”

Finally, the prime minister expressed his condolences to those families who lost their loved ones in the attack on the Capitol in DC. “We don’t like being judged, so we don’t judge others, and we don’t get involved in the affairs of Americans, but we are rooting for them to succeed,” Viktor Orbán concluded.