In the first minutes of his interview this morning on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán listed the most up-to-date coronavirus figures in Hungary: 4,668 new infections, 123 new deaths and 5,027 patients hospitalized, with 451 currently on ventilators.
“These numbers,” PM Orbán said, “signal that the epidemiological situation is about to get drastically worse. Now, it is that time again when we must keep count of empty hospital beds, ventilators and professionals because, once again, the numbers are about to get dramatically worse.”
Right now, the prime minister continued, there are 15,831 free hospital beds and 2,296 ventilators at our disposal. However, due to the increasing threat of the virus, a “high level of preparedness had to be ordered in hospitals.” According to the PM, Hungary will soon return to the same level of preparedness that was in place last April and November.
“I urge everyone to sign up for the vaccine,” PM Orbán reiterated, adding that the government plans to vaccinate all those who have signed up to get the shot by the Easter holidays. This will mean that Hungary will have the highest vaccination rate in the EU.
Commenting on the strange, paradoxical nature of the current situation, Prime Minister Orbán said that “while we need to talk about how to lift the restrictions, we must also obey the rules. And the coming days will decide whether we must tighten the rules.”
Speaking about vaccine procurement, Prime Minister Orbán said that now is not the time to start pointing fingers; the European Commission negotiated well because they tried to save money, but they lost time along the way. “Right now, time is more important than the price of the vaccine,” the prime minister stressed. Meanwhile, Hungary’s procurement strategy “stands on two legs,” as Hungary is purchasing shots from both Western and Eastern partners.
Coming to his closing remarks, Prime Minister Orbán announced that the financial support framework, developed to assist companies in dealing with the hardships brought about by the coronavirus, will remain in force even after the reopening.