Opening the National Assembly’s fall session earlier today, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke about how Hungary’s healthcare system has managed to “win the first battle” against the coronavirus. “Right now, we are in the second wave of the epidemic,” the prime minister continued, adding that “now we are more prepared than we were in the spring.”
Referring to the outcome of the latest national consultation on the coronavirus, PM Orbán stressed that the Hungarian people have made it clear that they want to keep the country functioning so that we do not allow the virus to paralyze our everyday lives.
Listing the government’s latest decisions, the prime minister said that travel restrictions will be maintained, mask-wearing has been made obligatory, and there is a complete visitation ban in hospitals and elderly homes; plus, taking the temperature of students and teachers is now mandatory in schools.
“Experts say that at the peak of the epidemic there could be 200,000 active coronavirus cases, with 16,000 people in the hospital and 800 patients on ventilators. But I calculate [our needs] with twice these numbers,” PM Orbán said, adding that Hungary is prepared to meet this potential demand, as the country currently boasts a capacity of more than 66,000 hospital beds.
“Today, nobody has to worry about finding themselves without proper care,” the PM said regarding the preparedness of the country’s healthcare system.
Turning to the economic effects of the coronavirus, PM Orbán said that “There is, and there will be enough jobs.” What’s more, the government has recently decided to extend the moratorium on loan repayments until July 1, 2021. “Due to the extension of the moratorium,” the PM added, “the homes of 1.6 million have been saved.”
PM Orbán emphasized, “The government’s programs for managing the economic consequences of the epidemic are not rescue packages, but investments.” He then revealed that 904 companies have applied so far to carry out investments amounting to a total of HUF 424 billion, protecting some 400,000 jobs.
Commenting on the next EU multiannual financial framework, PM Orbán said that the upcoming EU budget consists of two parts, the seven-year budget and a fund called “Next Generation.” In the next seven years, Hungary will see an inflow of net EUR 31 billion. “By 2028,” the prime minister said, “we will be close to becoming a net contributor to the EU budget.”
Photo credit: MTI