The coronavirus is likely to reach Hungary, and the Hungarian government is preparing to combat an outbreak even though there are no confirmed cases in the country as yet, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public Kossuth Radio on Friday.
Hungary has the equipment ready to identify the COVID-19 virus and epidemiologists of international reputation, he said. There is a 24-hour on-call system in place as well as screening protocols at border crossings, with a special focus on airports, he added.
Orbán called on Hungarians to cooperate and refrain from travelling to areas hit by the virus. “We are on the eve of a pandemic,” he warned.
He warned that, although it may be true that more die of the flu than of a COVID-19 infection, “we know influenza … and can protect ourselves”.
People’s “panic reactions” are therefore “not entirely groundless, we are facing an unknown calamity,” he said.
All important information is going to be made public immediately, he added.
On another subject, Orbán said that the government’s main political rival was “George Soros and his associates” rather than the opposition. The former circle “poses a greater threat for the country and the government” than the opposition, he said, insisting that Soros had earlier taken “three major manoeuvres aimed at looting the country”.
“Soros’s financial empire aims to gain influence over government decisions so as to reap financial benefits,” he said, adding that “regrettably the Hungarian opposition has merged with Soros’s network”.
Soros and the “media, journalists, activists, and NGOs he finances” are a “well-organised plain-clothes network commanded in a military manner” that will “attack governments on obvious instruction from its centre”, Orbán said.
Commenting on the European Union’s next budget, Orbán urged a fair distribution of the burdens, rich countries paying more “or at least not less” than poorer EU members. Hungary currently contributes more, relative to its per capita GDP, than the Netherlands or Germany, he added.