Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic will cost “several hundred billion forints”, but resources are available from central coffers to cover this loss.
According to MTI, Gulyás said the situation in Hungary was not nearly as bad as in most countries of Europe because the government had taken all necessary measures much earlier. He added, however, that the number of those infected could increase in leaps and bounds in the next days and weeks.
The minister said that all conditions were in place to control the epidemic and the healthcare system was prepared to handle “the highest possible number” of patients.
Gulyás thanked healthcare and law-enforcement staff, adding that the success of preventative measures depended on their efforts. Hungary currently has 2,500 respirators, and the government will increase that number. The government is in the process of purchasing equipment from abroad, but he noted uncertainties surround deliveries.
Concerning the COVID-19, Gulyás said 80-90 percent of patients had no symptoms, but there were some that required hospitalization. He added that few deaths were primarily caused by the novel coronavirus. “This is typically a secondary disease which becomes lethal because of another primary problem.”
Gulyás said the government was working to ensure the functioning of the economy and to save jobs. He noted a recently introduced moratorium on consumer and business debt servicing and a ban on increasing loan repayments from next year. He said the money left with households would help the economy survive.
Gulyás said the government was asking the operators of universities and schools to continue their closure until parliament comes to a relevant decision next week. Kindergartens and crèches should also be closed.
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