Viktor Orbán said if everyone convinces just one more person, a level of immunity will develop in Hungary where the virulence of the epidemic’s fourth wave will not be comparable with earlier waves.
“We are able to vaccinate everyone, we have 8 million vaccines in our warehouses,” the Prime Minister stated, stressing that if a person registers, they will receive the vaccine within a week.
Though this weekend is all about light-hearted celebration on the occasion of the 20 August festivities, we must prepare, “the fourth wave is knocking at our door”.
While “it is not knocking at our door the loudest,” but more at the doors of the neighbouring and Western European countries, similar to the situation last year, the fourth wave will not avoid Hungary either.
The government has worked throughout the summer to prepare the country for the fourth wave, the Operational Groups have been in session continuously, he highlighted. They organised vaccination at schools and started the administration of third doses.
He recalled that Hungary was the first state in Europe to have administered two doses of the vaccine to more than half of the adult population.
There is now a large amount of data available regarding the effectiveness of immunisation. One out of five hundred vaccinated persons becomes infected, and in their case the progression of the disease is less severe than in the case of those who have not been inoculated. We should therefore have faith in vaccines. The vaccine is the only solution to the virus, wearing face masks and distancing are not enough. “Only the vaccine saves lives,” the Prime Minister said.
The fourth wave is a threat not to those who have been vaccinated, but to those who have not, Mr Orbán highlighted, adding that many unvaccinated people keep hoping that they can avoid infection, but they will not.
He stressed as experience showed that the effectiveness of mask-wearing was minor, while the effectiveness of the vaccine was proving to be overwhelmingly high, from 1 September they will launch another major vaccination campaign.
On the programme, the Prime Minister also mentioned that “the economy is racing ahead at full speed” and so it will be possible to pay a pension premium, the amount of which will depend on the rate of the economy’s growth. Mr Orbán believes that a one-time payment of HUF 50,000 to 56,000 is realistic, but this sum could be even substantially higher.
He stressed that never since the fall of communism had as many people been in employment in Hungary as today. While people have every reason to be proud of themselves, the government, too, has played a part in the favourable growth data, he observed. He highlighted that the question is no longer what to do with the unemployed, but whether there will be enough workers. The greatest protection for those living off work is if there are more jobs than workers, and today Hungary is in such a state, he pointed out, adding that it is important that small and medium-sized businesses should have access to credit.
He said he has faith that Hungary will reach a 5.5 per cent annual economic growth because if it does taxes can be refunded to families with children. The government is also continuing the re-introduction of the 13th monthly pension, and the goal is for young people up to the age of 25 years not to have to pay income tax, he said, observing that “we have a very large amount of work to do”.
In the context of tourism, Mr Orbán said Budapest is “off colour,” “coughing and spluttering,” “for the time being, it hasn’t yet found its old rhythm”. However, this is not something that Hungarians are responsible for. It is due to the fact that tourism in the capital relied mostly on foreigners, and they are not yet ready to set out. It would be good if Hungarians living in the countryside acquainted themselves with Budapest a little more thoroughly, the Prime Minister said.
Regarding the 20 August fireworks display which attracted around 700,000 spectators, the Prime Minister took the view that we managed “to elevate a mere fair spectacle to an uplifting artistic performance that is a source of national pride”.