Hungary PM: We Must Wear Face Masks

A new world will dawn on Monday in enforcing compliance with the rules related to the coronavirus epidemic, and if anyone is found to be in violation of those rules, “we will do whatever it takes to enforce them,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated on Friday on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary.’

The containment of the epidemic is our joint responsibility, we must wear face masks, this is key because anyone who does not wear a face mask and fails to observe the rules acts irresponsibly and puts other people’s heath at risk, the prime minister stressed.

From Monday, those who fail to observe the rules will have to be punished. As part of this, from Monday, the police will have the authority to shut restaurants and stores down, will have the authority to make recommendations, and will also have the authority to shut down sports and cultural events, Orban indicated, observing that “we are in an ascending phase,” and numbers will remain unfavourable.

He highlighted at the same time that in Hungary, compared with other countries, even now the situation is not bad as regards discipline among members of the public. However, the situation will become worse, and we will need more.

The prime minister also said the first batch of vaccine against the coronavirus is expected to arrive in Hungary at the end of December to the beginning of January, and so it will be possible to start the vaccination of those suffering from chronic diseases and the elderly who are most at risk sometime in January.

Vaccines will probably start arriving in large quantities in April, the prime minister said, adding that he instructed the Operational Group to prepare a vaccination plan. At the same time, they are also conducting negotiations about vaccines from China and Russia, and in the spring we may well have as many as 2 to 3 different types of vaccine in Hungary. “We will all rid ourselves” of the epidemic from April with great probability, and we will then be able to claim victory, Orban said.

The prime minister also rendered an account of the Thursday video conference of the European Council, pointing out that the situation in Hungary is “moderate” compared with many Western European countries where the situation is much worse. At the video conference of heads of state and government, they attempted to coordinate the individual Member States’ containment efforts through a meaningful exchange of information and the coordination of border crossing arrangements.

However, the latter is not making much progress as there are some who are more tolerant, while we Hungarians are more stringent regarding this aspect, he said, adding that “we are also reluctant” to accept tests performed in different countries.

Regarding the tightening of measures, Orban pointed out that there are some countries which are taking very stringent measures, but the situation is continuously deteriorating nonetheless.

Therefore, he takes the view that “we should hammer down a few rules” and observe them. “I believe the key lies not in multiplying the rules, but in enforcing those which are already in place,” he said.

In the context of health care, he highlighted that the system will cope, there are sufficient hospital beds, medicines and ventilators, and there are also enough physicians and nurses “even if they have to be transferred from one institution to another”. He observed that in Europe, after Germany and Austria, Hungary has the largest hospital bed reserves, while as regards ventilators, we are number one.

Talking about the flu vaccine, he said there are twice as many vaccines as we have in normal peace time, 1.4 million doses. However, this may prove to be not enough, and therefore they have ordered another 360,000. There is a Hungarian-owned vaccine production plant in Pilisborosjenő, while another Hungarian vaccine production plant is currently being built in Debrecen.

Regarding the status of physicians, the prime minister said physicians are right in that the rules of secondment must be humanised. When there is an epidemic, there is room for ‘deployment,’ but at other times they have every reason to ask for more humane treatment, including secondment for shorter periods and that those with families should not be seconded.

Also as regards private practices, there is a legitimate need for the establishment of clear rules within the shortest possible time, he added. He said at the Wednesday cabinet meeting they are scheduled to decide on rules relating to secondment, general practitioners and the protocol for the oversight of hospitals.

This will then be followed by the issue of the part-time jobs of physicians. He said concerning the pay rises of physicians and nurses that the country rewards them for their dedication. The prime minister also mentioned that while there is an economic decline at present, he envisages the way the economy will return to the old tracks. He stressed at the same time that as in normal life family is the basis of everything, families must be supported.

“I’m shocked,” the prime minister said in response to the fact that a knife attack left three people dead at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice. He said the future of the African people is in Africa, and “once you let them in, you must live together with them,” you must adapt to them. “If you don’t want to adapt, there is only one thing you can do: not let them in.”

“If in Hungary we don’t want to see incidents such as the one that just occurred in Nice, we must not let them in,” the prime minister stated, confirming that other than the few that are already here, “we don’t want to let new ones in, we especially don’t want to let migrants in.”

He said we must not allow Brussels to force rules on Hungary which would compel us to let in people “we don’t want to in order to attend funerals later on”. They will try to blackmail us in vain, Hungary will not go down the Brussels path, he stated, adding at the same time that the Hungarian opposition, too, is pro-immigration, opposition MEPs “are in cahoots with those who want Hungary to change its migration rules."

However, as long as this government is in office, they will not come in, he stressed.

The prime minister highlighted that the Hungarian people, too, have a vested interest in there being anti-migration leaders in Western Europe. He also said not even the violation of a person’s religious sensibilities can be a legitimate reason for killing another person because “human life is sacred."

Finally, regarding Reformation Day on Saturday he said a thanksgiving service will be held for the construction of a Reformed church near Budapest.

You can read this article as it originally appears at Hungary Journal here.

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(PHOTO: OLIVIER MATTHYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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