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Those who are swift save lives, those who are slow lose lives

“Those who are swift save lives, those who are slow lose lives,” Mr Orbán said at a joint press conference, stressing that therefore we cannot wait for Brussels because the Brussels procurement of vaccines is slow.

“We want to learn from each other so that we can accelerate the procurement of vaccines,” the Prime Minister said after he shared with his Czech counterpart the Hungarian experiences related to the procurement and testing of the Russian and Chinese vaccines.

The Prime Minister indicated that in Serbia both the Chinese and Russian vaccines are being used in mass, and they therefore also shared the experiences gathered from Serbia.

He highlighted that the Hungarian people observe the rules outstandingly even by European standards which may be related to the fact that a national consultation was held with respect to the restrictions.

It will be the same upon the easing of restrictions, he confirmed, as part of another consultation extending from the middle of February to the beginning of March, they will ask the people whether restrictions should be lifted in one or multiple stages, and whether the lifting of restrictions should extend to everyone or only to a limited category of people.

He added that, compared with Mr Babis, he has the advantage of not having to lead a coalition government, and as a result, decision-making can be smoother.

During the talks, he also told his Czech colleague, the Prime Minister continued, that Hungary has launched an economy restarting action plan.

He further highlighted that the Visegrád Four (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia) could come out of the trial caused by the epidemic with high hopes in an economic sense, and they could reduce “the disadvantage that history imposed on us” more swiftly than before.

Regarding the Czech Republic, Mr Orbán stressed that Hungary looks up to the Czech Republic, and everybody knows about Prime Minister Andrej Babis that he was Europe’s best finance minister. Good Hungarian-Czech relations are also important from the respect of the 15,000 Hungarians living in the Czech Republic, he added.

He also said in the Czech Republic unemployment is the lowest in the whole of Europe, followed by Germany, with Hungary ranked third.

He praised the demographic situation in the Czech Republic, regarding the fact that, in contrast to Hungary, in the Czech Republic in the past 20 to 30 years, the number of Czech citizens has increased by more than half a million.

In answer to a question, Mr Orbán also said that vaccines must be procured now, and this is not the time to discuss the question as to whether this could have been arranged in the EU better, more swiftly or differently. He added that there is no point in politicising the issue of either the vaccine or the fight against it.

In answer to a question about the Russian vaccine, the Prime Minister said the lack of trust related to this vaccine will be resolved by time.

He also highlighted that for the time being, the number of persons who have registered for vaccination in Hungary and the country’s vaccination capacity are higher than the number of vaccines available.

“Every day, we are working to procure ever further doses from any sources, vaccines which pass the test of the Hungarian safety regulations,” he stated.