The foreign minister said Hungary has taken all necessary and possible measures since the coronavirus pandemic to be prepared for another potential health crisis and be able to protect people’s lives.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told the World Health Organisation (WHO) general assembly in Geneva on Tuesday that the past three years had involved several challenges and one of the most serious ones was the coronavirus pandemic. The most important task of the international community would be to prepare for potential future challenges, he said, adding that over-politicizing international healthcare should be avoided. He added that politics and ideology had nothing to do with saving people’s lives and if geopolitics are mixed up with health issues, it will cost many lives. The lesson learnt from Hungary’s successful epidemic management was that taking geopolitical issues into consideration would have resulted in many more victims. Had Hungary waited for the European Commission’s president to place orders for vaccines “by text message”, much fewer lives could have been saved, he added. The government took action instead, and purchased Eastern vaccines whose effectiveness was tested by Hungarian experts, he said. As a result, Hungary was able to launch the fastest vaccination campaign in the European Union and was able to lift restrictions as the first member state, he said. Hungary was even able to offer 8.6 million doses of vaccine to countries in need, he added. The pandemic has made it clear that it is vitally important to set up strategic reserves even if they are considered unnecessary or too expensive under normal circumstances, he said. Minister Szijjártó said Hungary had taken all necessary measures to be prepared for the next potential health crisis, citing the purchase of cargo aircraft, building a national vaccine plant and ventilator production plant, and being ready to produce protective masks and gloves.