The vaccination of health workers against Covid-19 will start on December 27, with 5,500 doses of vaccine expected to arrive from the European Union within days and further shipments to follow soon after, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told an online press briefing on Tuesday.
Doctors and nurses providing intensive care to coronavirus patients will be the first to be inoculated, he said.
The government is in talks with other vaccine producers, too, including China and Russia, Gulyás said, and voiced hope that “significant amounts” of the Chinese vaccine could be available once it was licensed. The goal is to ensure that the country has “effective and tested” vaccines, he said, adding that
the government had so far reserved 17.5 million doses.
He also encouraged residents to register for vaccination.
The government will maintain current restrictions until at least January 11 but curfew restrictions will be suspended for Christmas Eve. Children aged under 14 will not count in the maximum number of 10 people allowed at gatherings, he added.
He also said that
Hungary banned all passenger air services from the UK, following the example of most EU countries.
Concerning the government’s economy protection measures, Gulyás said that they served to ensure that businesses and families survive the difficult months ahead, providing extra resources to those in a difficult situation.
Gulyás said that the most important measure was to extend a credit repayment moratorium until June 30, 2021, applying to almost 2.6 million families. He added that nearly 1.5 million families with 54 percent of a total debt portfolio of 3,600 billion forints were availing themselves of that opportunity. He also said that nearly one million businesses were entitled to use the moratorium, and 48.5 percent had opted to do so. The moratorium will affect 41.7 percent of their total portfolio, an equivalent of 4,300 billion forints, he said.
The government has also decided to halve the local business tax payable by SMEs,
which will leave some 150 billion forints (EUR 420m) with such businesses, he said, adding that local governments’ business tax revenues would be comparable to those in 2017 or 2018, “50 percent more than in 2011”. Municipalities with fewer than 25,000 residents will be automatically compensated for lost revenues, he said, adding that the government was open to negotiations with larger cities. Helping local councils stay operational is in the interest of both sides, he said.
To help families raising or expecting children, a home renovation loan subsidy has been introduced, offering a maximum 6 million forints with an interest rate of 3 percent, he said. Half of the loans will be non-refundable, he added.
Retaining jobs is a top priority for the government, he said, adding that nearly 4.5 million people were currently employed, “almost 900,000 more than in 2010”.