“The question is not when will we reach the peak of the third wave, but when will we be able to come down from the so-called plateau,” Prime Minister Orbán said, kicking off his regular Friday morning interview on Hungary’s public Kossuth Rádió. He added that healthcare reserves “don’t look bad,” with 10,343 hospital beds and 1,693 ventilators still available for patients.
Warning younger generations about the dangers of the coronavirus’ “British” mutation, PM Orbán said that the third wave of the pandemic is here because this variant is capable of infecting three times as many people.
“The only defensive method against the virus is inoculating our people, but inoculation depends on access to vaccines. Hungary could inoculate multiple times as many people as we are currently doing, provided we had enough vaccines,” Prime Minister Orbán said. Speaking about the key takeaway from the first day of a “marathon” European Council meeting that began yesterday, the prime minister said that “Hungary also has an abundance of problems, but those countries that did not order Eastern vaccines are lagging far behind us.”
According to the prime minister, Hungary will be able to administer one and a half times as many vaccines in April and May as we are doing now in March. “I have no doubt that we are going to have a free summer in Hungary,” the PM said.
Commenting on the topic of a potential reopening, the prime minister said that we cannot talk about the lifting of all restrictions until everyone above the age of 65 has received at least the first dose of the vaccine. Some changes, however, will be made in the near future, as Hungary will shift to a new measure for stores based on the number of people allowed per square meter.
“Only one person will be allowed to enter per 10 square meters of the shop,” PM Orbán said, adding that, as a result, there will be lines in front of the shops, so stores will be allowed to remain open until 9 p.m. and the curfew will begin only at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.
Regarding the reopening of schools, the prime minister argued that it may only happen once every Hungarian above the age of 65 has been vaccinated. Right now, 71 percent of this age group has already received at least the first dose of the shot. “However, if we want to allow our kids back to school, we will first have to inoculate teachers and school staff,” PM Orbán said, which means a total of 102,000 school staff, 20,000 of whom have already received the vaccine.
“As I see it, we can vaccinate these people by April 10, so we have a realistic shot at reopening our schools on April 19,” PM Orbán said, adding that by this date he plans to have more than 3 million Hungarians vaccinated.
Approaching his closing remarks, the prime minister reiterated that he can “certainly promise that we are going to have a free summer.”
“There are difficult days ahead of us, but Hungary will precede all other EU countries in terms of making our lives free again,” the PM said.
Photo credit: Facebook - Viktor Orbán