The country must remain up and running, and meanwhile we must continue to protect ourselves in a disciplined manner
18. 09. 2020.
The country must remain up and running, and meanwhile we must continue to protect ourselves against the coronavirus epidemic in a disciplined manner, by observing the rules, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’.

He said they have a battle plan-like action plan about how health care should respond in the event of a rise in the number of coronavirus incidences and an increase in the demand for hospital care.

Mr Orbán observed that after a news report had spread in the left-wing press claiming that there was not enough capacity at the National Korányi Institute of Pulmonology, on Friday morning he visited the hospital in person where he was told that there were naturally enough hospital beds and ventilators, and there were also sufficient staff for the time being.

It is true, he continued, that physicians see that there is a rise in the number of people requiring hospitalisation and also see where the capacities of their hospitals end. Therefore, it is very important that Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler published a plan which lays down which hospital is next when capacities run out in a given institution, and there is also a deployment plan. This morning, 10,000 hospital beds are available for the treatment of coronavirus patients, and this number could be increased by another 20,000, he said.

As health care has been thoroughly prepared for the second wave of the epidemic, the containment plan will be different from that followed in the spring because at the time we had to gain time to learn about the unknown “enemy” and to prepare health care, the Prime Minister explained, adding that at this time they are not asking people to stay at home, but to observe the rules relating to the washing of hands, the wearing of face masks and social distancing, and if they do so, everyone can live their own life.

At the same time, the Prime Minister asked the Left to at least not stab disease control experts in the back – now that they have shown that “they can’t be relied upon” in the containment effort this time around either – because by doing so they attack the country. “The fake news reports after the fake video which claim that there aren’t enough hospitals, there aren’t enough people and ventilators […] are all lies and attacks,” he said.

In answer to the question as to why the Ministry is not pressing charges, he said lawyers will look into what could be done against the scaremongering Left in a legal sense, but at this time the containment of the virus takes precedence.

If the Left, too, asked people to observe the rules and said that there was no reason for panicking, the whole issue would be removed from the realm of political debates and the press would probably stop targeting health care when “hunting for” sensational news, he said.

Regarding the second wave of the epidemic, the Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that “we won’t have a happy autumn,” it will be about protective measures, and the number of daily incidences is expected to exceed one thousand.

He stressed that young people, too, should concern themselves more with the issue of the virus lest they should be the ones to infect their parents and grandparents. Rules must be observed primarily in the interest of protecting the elderly, he stated.

Regarding body temperature checking in schools, he said the necessary instruments have been ordered, and from 1 October thermometers will be available in sufficient numbers everywhere. He indicated that the parents of pupils in the lower grades will be allowed to accompany their children to the spot where their body temperatures are taken, and if it transpires that there is a problem, they will be able to take them home.

As long as there is no vaccine, we must continue our containment effort, he pointed out, observing that during their latest conversation, US President Donald Trump reassured him that by the end of October or by the end of the year, at the latest, a US vaccine will be available, and Hungary, too, will have access to it, “but we’ll believe this when we see it”. The government keeps monitoring all research projects, Hungary itself is taking part in European research, and they have also decided to make an additional contribution of more than two billion forints to this project, he said.

Mr Orbán further highlighted that on Saturday morning the economic operational group will decide on the issue of the credit debt repayment moratorium. At present, the essence of this arrangement lies in that families and businesses are allowed to suspend the repayment of loans taken out earlier until the end of the year. On Saturday, they will have to decide what should happen beyond 1 January, whether the moratorium should continue or which segments of the moratorium should continue.

Regarding economic data, he pointed out that while in January 4,458,000 people were in employment in Hungary, in August this number stood at 4,513,000. Compared with the low point in April, 144,000 more people had jobs, and so however surprising it may seem, we must against prepare for a shortage of work force.

He mentioned as a specific Budapest problem that the business model of tourism in the capital relies almost exclusively on foreigners. Therefore, he encouraged the parties concerned, including the metropolitan municipality, to make changes, or else Budapest residents working in the sector will no longer have jobs in this industry. The Prime Minister expects domestic tourism in the countryside to boom also in 2021, while tourism in Budapest relying on foreigners will suffer, and therefore there is a need for a specific programme for the capital.

Regarding the 14th anniversary of the leaking of the Őszöd speech, he said it was a difficult moment, dissatisfaction rocketed sky high as the prime minister in office at the time stood up and said no less than that they cheated, concealed the truth and spread lies; however, instead of the drawing of the necessary conclusions, mounted attacks and the shooting out of eyes followed.

This is why it was right that Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office told the young people who are now demonstrating that they are lucky that the prime minister is not Ferenc Gyurcsány and that the incumbent government is not a left-wing government because if that were the case they would be restrained and beaten with swords and their eyes would be shot out, he added.

He also recalled from 2006 that at the time he took the view that a government cannot resort to unconstitutional means because by doing so they open the floodgates, resulting in one crisis after another. “I said we must win once, but we must win big […]. It’s a good job I could keep my word,” he said.