Kicking off his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that he doesn’t see the introduction of stricter coronavirus restrictions as necessary, even despite a significant increase in infections over the last couple of days. “Hungary’s defense stands on two pillars: professional knowledge, and experience, the people’s knowledge,” PM Orbán said, adding that these two principles must be combined on a political level.
The prime minister said that if Hungary soon begins using the Chinese vaccine, we can have more than 2.5 million people inoculated, the number of those who have already registered for the shot, by Easter. By the end of May, compared to another country of similar size, Hungary would be able to administer the jab to 3.5 million more citizens.
Touching upon the EU’s vaccine procurement scheme, the prime minister said that Brussels cannot be blamed for working out a disadvantageous business deal for the vaccines, but the most problematic question is when those vaccines will actually arrive. “Those who save time, save lives. Those who lose time, lose lives,” PM Orbán summarized, adding that each day we spend waiting around for Brussels, we would lose one hundred Hungarian lives.
On the topic of the Chinese vaccine, the prime minister confirmed that the expert review of the shot is already under way by Hungarian authorities. Responding to the voices who would prefer the Brussels-based medicines authority to the Hungarian one, the PM asked: “Why would we think that they are better than us?” According to PM Orbán, Hungarian experts are “world-class.”
“There will be an online consultation on the questions surrounding the reopening of the country,” PM Orbán said about the questionnaire that’s going to be hosted on the same website, vakcinainfo.gov.hu, where Hungarians can sign up for the vaccine.
Finally, listing the key economic steps of the action plan to reboot the economy, the prime minister said that the government has recently reduced housing VAT to 5 percent, announced a personal income tax exemption for those under 25, began the gradual reintroduction of 13th month pensions and kicked off a preferential HUF 10 million loan scheme for small- and micro businesses to help remedy the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.