Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a radio interview on Friday that “we’ve basically defeated the third wave” of the coronavirus, and that a number of remaining restrictions would be lifted once five million people have been vaccinated.
So far 4,898,866 have received a jab and the five million mark “will certainly be reached this weekend”, Orbán told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio. This puts Hungary in Europe’s vanguard, he said.
“Hungary is ever safer compared with other countries.”
Outstanding restrictions to be lifted include the night-time curfew, the mandatory closing time of restaurants and shops, wearing masks in public spaces, as well as the ban on outdoor individual and team sports.
Further, up to 50 people can attend private and family events, while up to 200 people can attend weddings.
Hotel and restaurant managers must make sure guests are separated, while up to 500 people can attend outdoor events, including meetings.
Only people with vaccination certificates can attend music and dance events, he said. Meanwhile, vaccinated 16-18 year-olds can take part in cultural and sports events indoors, he added.
Hungary is the only EU country to have approved and used Russian and Chinese vaccines in large quantities before the European Medicines Agency has examined or approved them.
This has enabled it to reach one of the EU’s highest inoculation rates, with 50% of its population of around 10 million having already had at least one shot.
Whereas the operative board overseeing Hungary’s Covid-related measures will no longer be active from Friday, readiness to respond to any resurgence would be maintained since 3,000,000 adults are still not inoculated.
He urged them to overcome their resistance to vaccination, noting that, with the exception of Serbia, vaccination rates in neighbouring countries were much lower than in Hungary. Also, vigilence is needed to ensure that vaccines used in Hungary also protect against new variants, he added.
In addition to the vaccines already administered, 7.3 million vaccines are in stock or on order from Pfizer, 1.2 million from Moderna, 4 million from Janssen and 4.7 million from Astra-Zeneca, he said. Setting aside Chinese and Russian vaccines, these would be enough to vaccinate all Hungarians in 2021 and 2022, even taking into account a possible third or even fourth dose, he added.
Orbán said that even so, in order to ensure self-sufficinecy in the long term, a Hungarian vaccine would be ready and manufactured in the second half of 2022 at a plant now under construction in Debrecen.
With domestic production “we can guarantee the safety of all Hungarians for decades.”
Most aspects of its service industry are already back in operation, including hotels, restaurants, spas, theatres, cinemas, gyms and sports venues.
The economy shrank by 5% last year, and Orbán, who faces elections in 2022, said this year’s GDP growth could be higher than the government’s current projection of 4.3%.
He reiterated that the government has decided to extend a COVID-19 loan repayment moratorium until the end of August, in order to allow banks and the government to continue talks and hammer out plans regarding the future of the moratorium.
Lower-income borrowers would have to be supported further on, he said, without going into details.
Source: MTI, Reuters