The prime minister’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, said today that Hungary had a sufficient number of hospital beds, with only 25 percent of them occupied by Covid-19 patients. He added that 2,261 Covid patients and 596 patients whose Covid status was unconfirmed were currently hospitalised. Fully 8,546 beds in Hungarian hospitals are unoccupied, he said, adding that the capacity could be increased if necessary.
Concerning Omicron, Gulyás said the jab ensured protection against serious symptoms rather than the infection itself, adding that all vaccines licenced in Hungary were effective. Omicron, he added, accounted for a significant proportion of new infections, and warned that the number of new infections was “growing fast”, with the number of people becoming sick expected to grow significantly in the next few weeks. He added, however, that
Omicron caused less serious symptoms, and in other countries a higher number of infections had not resulted in a higher number of hospitalisations or deaths.
He said he hoped the situation in Hungary would follow that pattern.
Gulyás stressed that the primary protection against Covid was vaccination, adding that Hungary had a total 9.2 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Sinopharm vaccines. He welcomed the large number of shots administered during the recent vaccination campaign. Jabs without registration will continue in February on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, he said, adding that currently 64 percent of Hungarians were vaccinated,
“a good ratio in the region, though we are in the last third in European comparison.”
In response to a question, Gulyás said the government was being cautious when it came to shortening the quarantine period, adding that it had approved a “more conservative” proposal in the matter.
Asked about free Covid tests, he said the government had always prioritised vaccination over making testing free.
He also said the government will issue a decree this week on the option of a fourth Covid shot for those who ask for it after consultations with their doctor.
Asked about vaccination rates, he said there were geographical reasons behind the relatively low rate in central Europe compared with western Europe. The vaccination rate in Hungary, however, is still higher than in neighbouring countries, with the exception of Austria, he added.