The Prime Minister said the number of vaccinated persons currently stands above 3,145,000, and more than 1,300,000 persons have already received the second dose of the vaccine. He added that 241 mostly elderly persons had died; the number of persons in hospital has fallen to below 10,000 – to 9,459 – and 1,117 persons require assisted ventilation.
According to the Prime Minister, the situation in hospitals continues to remain extremely difficult. He expressed words of appreciation and gratitude to nurses and physicians working in hospitals as well as to other hospital personnel.
Regarding the gradual reopening of schools, the Prime Minister said more than 3,145,000 persons of the 8 million Hungarian citizens over the age of 18 have already been inoculated, another 742,198 persons have had the disease brought on by the coronavirus, and as a result, “within seconds” Hungary will reach the very important dividing line where the number of those with immunity will be higher than the number of those without.
In the context of the reopening of schools, he said “you are, at the end of the day, most concerned for your children,” and it is extremely difficult to reopen schools because members of the public are always divided on this issue.
According to the Prime Minister, the situation experienced in the case of creches played a decisive part in the decision now adopted because in the last ten days the percentage of parents taking their children to creches has increased significantly. He also said they had reviewed hospital statistics, and of the some 10,000 persons currently in hospital, there are only 27 children under the age of 14, including 2 requiring assisted ventilation.
Additionally, he continued, the Defence Forces have disinfected schools.
He further drew attention to the fact that parents have the possibility of contacting the school principal if they nonetheless do not want to let their children go back to school. In this case, the principal decides whether such absence is regarded as excused or not excused.
He took the view that the reopening of schools is most certainly not easy for teachers either, but their work is now very much in need. He therefore asked them to help the country so that life can start returning to normal. He observed that fewer teachers registered for vaccination than he had hoped for, but those who registered have all been inoculated.
Mr Orbán also said so far 4,219,000 persons have registered for vaccination. The Prime Minister warned that a misconception had evolved; there are people who believe that once 60 to 70 per cent of the population have been inoculated, they no longer need to be vaccinated because they “got away with it” without contracting the virus.
This is a misleading idea, “no one can get away with it,” he stressed, adding that there is only individual immunity, and it is the vaccine that provides individual immunity. At the same time, vaccination saves lives.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that the next six weeks will be decisive; Hungary will be able to double the number of vaccinated persons, and so by the end of May or by June “we will be out of the woods”.
He mentioned that “five hundred something thousand” Western Janssen vaccines have now been lost. At the same time, in the coming days the Foreign Minister will be working to replace the lost vaccines with others, primarily Chinese ones. He also announced that due to “concerning news reports” they had ordered an investigation into the Janssen vaccine. This is an unusual step, he said, as so far they have automatically accepted the certificates of vaccines originating from the West, and only inspected those coming from the East.
The Prime Minister criticised the opposition because, as he said, he has not seen a Left in a single other country “which is openly and unashamedly – sometimes plainly, at other times slyly, but continually – pursuing a policy that leads to a crisis, that is aimed at the protraction of the epidemic, that seeks to slow down the recovery process, and that confuses people about whether they can believe the government or not”.
He said it is nothing short of shocking that a draft resolution proposed by the Left – demanding that people should not be vaccinated with Chinese vaccines – still lies before Parliament, despite the fact that if Hungary did not use Eastern vaccines, around half as many people would be vaccinated. He observed that he is trying to hold back government-party Members of Parliament who continuously urge the introduction of consequences under criminal law as a punishment for anti-vaccination acts. There are such proposals, but, he continued, he would not like to have to deal with the punishment under criminal law of those who are anti-vaccination amidst the ongoing defence operations.
The Prime Minister took the view that the reason why anti-vaccination voices have intensified on the Left is that if within 6 weeks we manage to implement the vaccination plan, “we will be done with this whole thing,” and Hungary will be the first, second or third in the world to leave this trouble behind.
He said the government must take action all at once against the greed for profits of multinational companies and the greed for power of the Left which seeks to compromise people’s faith in the vaccine and vaccination.
Mr Orbán described the planned reopening of the terraces of restaurants and cafes as a symbolic step; in his view, this is “a very spectacular piece of our old life” which we are about to regain. He said they are abolishing terrace fees and the related bureaucratic permits centrally; subject to the observance of a few safety regulations, they are positively encouraging restaurants and cafes to reopen terraces and gardens.
He referred to the 2022 budget as the budget of restarting, stressing that in both 2021 and 2022 HUF 5 billion will be used for the restarting of the economy.
He said they continue to maintain the pledge to restart every job the virus destroyed, and they are, in fact, able to undertake to create even more jobs. “We will have more jobs after the pandemic than we had before, meaning that the number of jobs will increase,” he stated.