Hungary will end the first phase of its coronavirus defense next week, with movement restrictions replaced with new measures to help life in the country gradually restart, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his weekly interview on national channel Kossuth Rádió on Friday.
“The first phase of defense will end next week, with other rules instead of movement restrictions,” Orbán said. “The second phase of the defense begins and life can gradually restart.”
He added that while in the second phase rural and urban regions will need different measures, the protection of the elderly will remain the main priority. While stressing that Hungary will not “give up the life of anyone,” Orbán said that a gradual return to normal life may not be without surprises.
“If we don’t want to live a secluded bunker-like life until the discovery of a vaccine, we have two choices: We could succeed in rebooting life, but there will be surprises. Should the coronavirus become rampant during the reboot of life, we will need tens of thousands of hospital beds and several thousand respirators,” he said.
Orbán said that in order to allow the healthcare system to gear up for the epidemic, Hungary has succeeded in flattening the infection curve and the country will “not give up a single life”.
He added that going forward, the government will have to concentrate on preserving existing jobs and creating new ones instead of those lost.
“If there is no work, there is nothing,” he said, adding that Hungary was continuing to look at the example of Austria and its reboot attempts, as it is a neighboring country where the epidemic is more advanced. The prime minister said his country will be likely be “more cautious” due to Hungary’s belief that the Austrian measures to loosen restrictions have gone too fast.
According to the latest official count, Hungary had 2,383 confirmed coronavirus cases, 250 casualties and 10,942 in mandatory home isolation.
Title image: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Kossuth Rádió studio. (archive image)