The fourth Covid wave will be fundamentally different from previous ones in Hungary thanks to the country’s vaccination drive, the prime minister’s chief of staff told a government press briefing on Wednesday, adding that Hungary was among Europe’s “safest and freest” counties today in terms of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Gergely Gulyás said the government had no intention of bringing back lockdowns.
He said the elderly were still vulnerable, and appealed to people who have not got vaccinated to do so. Gulyás said booster jabs were primarily recommended for people over the age of 60. The government has done everything it could to facilitate the vaccination of the elderly, he said, adding that all data indicated that the vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid. Hungary has plenty of vaccines available, and
it will join EU procurements of vaccines for the under-12s should a vaccine be approved for this age group,
Hungary has 3.3 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in stock, in addition to 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca, some 300,000 doses of Jansen, 77,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik jab and 2.6 million of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, he said. Meanwhile, Gulyás noted the government has asked lawmakers to prolong the special measures related to Covid until Jan. 1, adding that
this had no bearing on people’s fundamental freedoms.
He added past restrictions such as curbs on public gatherings and curfews have been lifted, so given an extension of emergency measures it will be possible to hold demonstrations, for example. The government’s reactive capabilities will be maintained if lawmakers agree to prolong the special measures, Gulyás said.
Meanwhile, he insisted that rising caseload was not expected to have a corresponding effect on hospital admissions or deaths.
He said immunity certificates were still relevant and it was possible they would gain in importance.
The minister said the government had ‘outperformed’ its pledge to create more jobs than those destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic, and cited recent data showing
a record number of 4,704,000 employed in Hungary today,
adding that this number was at a record high since the change in political system 31 years ago.
Regarding the country’s economic performance, Gulyás said third quarter growth fuelled reason for optimism, and the 5.5 percent growth target — a precondition for providing families raising children an annual personal income tax refund at the level of the average wage next spring — was graspable. As regards tourism, the sector set a record this summer, he said.