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Mar 23, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: The more we work together, the more lives we can save

Speaking at the Operational Group’s regular press conference earlier today, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán revealed details about the four avenues of defense against the coronavirus.

“There are four avenues of defense against the coronavirus in Hungary,” Prime Minister Orbán said. “These are military, police, healthcare and economic avenues.”

When the state of emergency was announced 12 days ago, the prime minister said, the question was whether Hungary would keep waiting or decide to act. “We have decided to act because we realized that within the framework of the ordinary regulations, we would not be able to organize Hungary’s collective defense,” he said.

Reporting on the number of infected people in Hungary, PM Orbán said that there are currently 167 people who have tested positive for coronavirus: 108 people carry the virus without showing symptoms, 27 have developed symptoms and nine patients are currently in intensive care.

Regarding the state of the country’s healthcare system in terms of its ability to defend against the virus, Prime Minister Orbán said that Hungary has 1.5 million surgical masks, 590,000 special masks, 20 million plastic gloves and 2,560 ventilators. Regarding the number of healthcare personnel, there are currently 19,431 doctors, 4,312 trainee doctors and 690 senior medical students in Hungary. Moreover, there are 105,000 healthcare professionals on standby.

“Beginning tomorrow morning,” PM Orbán said, “doctors and nurses working in intensive care will be provided with special masks.” Meanwhile, anyone new suspected of having coronavirus and those working inside quarantine areas will be given protective masks.

Giving an account of Hungary’s police capabilities, PM Orbán said that there are 70,275 police officers and 46,573 volunteers ready to be deployed. They will be complemented by a 43,980-strong military force as well.

“I announced the first part of the economy protection action plan last Wednesday; here are six additional measures,” the prime minister said listing further tax exemptions for small enterprises in select sectors, the suspension of tax collection and enforcement, a ban on evictions, an exemption for media companies from advertising tax, and an extension of maternity leave and childcare support.

“The most important thing to do now [regarding the economy] is to protect our jobs,” Prime Minister Orbán said, because the following period “will be a difficult one” and will require additional personal effort from everyone.

“The more we cooperate, the more lives we can save,” PM Orbán said in closing.