The government is extending the timeframe of restrictions on movement introduced to combat the novel coronavirus epidemic until May 3, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.
In the meantime, the government will prepare a new set of regulations aimed at guaranteeing the protection of the most vulnerable elderly population and major cities, Gergely Gulyás told a regular online press briefing. These new rules will be on the cabinet’s agenda next Wednesday, he added.
Meanwhile, Gulyás said the government believes it is “too early” to start easing certain restrictions as other countries have, such as sending children back to school. However, the health-care sector is now at a level of preparedness that will allow for a gradual reopening of the economy under a strict schedule, he added.
The PM’s Office chief said
May 3 was the earliest projected date for the virus to peak and that the health authorities would have to apply the strictest possible protective measures at that point.
He added, however, that it was impossible to predict the exact day on which the virus would peak, underlining the need for constant preparedness over the coming weeks. Hungary is keeping an eye on international epidemic response practices, mainly those implemented in Germany and Austria, Gulyás added.
In line with another government decision, the country’s elderly care homes are being disinfected by the army, Gulyás noted.
He thanked those who had contributed to getting Hungary’s health-care system ready to cope with the epidemic, adding that the time left until May 3 would be enough to prepare for a massive increase in infections.
He said the decision to order hospitals to vacate 50 percent of their beds and have 8,000 functioning ventilators ready had been a “strictly a professional one”, as the government wants to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Gulyás said the innovation and technology minister will unveil later in the day the latest figures calculated using Hungary’s Covid-19 projection model.
Meanwhile, he noted that Hungary’s parliament — unlike those of other countries or even the European Parliament — has been meeting regularly since the start of the outbreak. The cabinet regularly briefs the legislature on the status of its epidemic response measures, and the opposition has had the chance to voice its criticisms, he said.
Gulyás also said
the government will cover part of the language proficiency exam fees of those receiving “gyed” or “gyes” maternity allowances.
On another subject, he noted that a 400-500 billion forint (EUR 1.14-1.43bn) development at the Samsung SDI plant in Göd, near Budapest, will create 2,700 jobs, details HERE. Gulyás said the decision to designate Göd as a special economic zone where tax revenues from local businesses will be primarily spent on the local region would not deprive the locality of money, arguing Göd would continue benefitting from corporate tax revenues.
The PM’s Office chief said it may be worthwhile to cement the solution applied in Göd into law. Göd will not be losing out on any tax revenues, he insisted, arguing that if the government decides to contribute to a major investment in the town, it should not be the only locality to benefit from the tax revenues.
Meanwhile, he said 51,000 people have filed for unemployment since March 11, with the number of job vacancies falling to 44,000. Gulyás added, at the same time, that the government’s recent economic protection measures had helped slow job losses.
As regards school-leaving exams, he said all conditions were in place for starting them safely, strictly in written form, on May 4.
Organising the exams was not a matter of prestige or politics but a professional one, Gulyás said. This is why the government has authorised Zoltan Maruzsa, the public education state secretary, to hold consultations with every side, including the parent and student organisations, as well as relevant trade unions, he said.
The state secretary has also been authorised to make a decision on delaying the exams by two or three weeks if necessary, he added.
Asked if teachers would be given their promised 10 percent wage hike, Gulyás said the government has made no changes to any of its past decisions on pay hikes.
Answering a question on making wearing face masks compulsory, Gulyás said it was…