coronavirus doctors
Photo: MTI/Balogh Zoltán

So-called hospital commanders appointed by the government will head all Hungarian hospitals from Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio on Friday.

Orbán said doctors will still decide on medical matters, but compliance with the stated epidemiological regulations will be overseen by the commanders.

Also, the uniformed hospital commanders will be in charge of supplies and staff management, he said, adding that hospitals would be able to bear the burden if the system operated smoothly in the next few weeks or months.

On a different note, the state secretary responsible for international communication and relations has called for greater solidarity “as we all face the most serious pandemic in a century, when governments everywhere are battling an unknown enemy and doing our best to protect the population against the spread of the virus.”

Zoltan Kovács said the “vociferous criticisms” of the Hungarian government’s coronavirus defense bill “come as nothing new. Even so, it’s disappointing and pathetic,” he said.

After “a decade of … malicious and inaccurate reporting on Hungary … we still have a democracy, a free media, a boisterous opposition and, prior to the present coronavirus crisis, one of the strongest economies in the EU,” he said.

“After what we’ve seen over the last ten years, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But somehow I thought – as we all face the most serious pandemic in a century, when governments everywhere are battling an unknown enemy and doing our best to protect the population against the spread of the virus and to save lives – I guess I hoped that this time we’d see a little more solidarity,” he said.

coronavirus quaranteen
Read alsoBREAKING NEWS – Coronavirus – Orbán announces curfew restriction between March 28 and April 11

2 comments
  1. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has – yet again – demonstrated to the world that he is not only a successful national leader but also a very innovative person.

    He listens to advice from the best experts in their respective fields and puts those plans into action.

    Dare I say it but perhaps these difficult times will prove to be his “Churchill moment”.

  2. He might be innovative, but doesn’t sending “uniformed commanders” to hospitals seem like another one of his heavy-handed, autocratic measures? I just recently–about a week ago–left Hungary to return to the US. What struck me the most about the news I saw there was how heavily life was influenced by the police, how much government action seemed to be backed by police action. One of the always-present speakers on the news (I watched mostly M1 and Duna TV news), for example, was a person in police uniform. Several news items were frequently about what the police was doing in Hungary. You might not agree with me about how I see Hungarian politics, but seeing that much police influence and presence in the service of the government did not garner an easy feeling in me.

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