The economic plans announced by the government as part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak aim to ensure that as few people lose their jobs as possible, and for those who do, they should get back to work as soon as possible, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio. Whereas it is not possible to ensure this in all circumstances, help would be available to those who lose their jobs, he said, adding that the government is helping small businesses with a view to preventing layoffs. He said various government-decreed measures to help consumers ease their loan obligations would also ensure that “what’s built over the last ten years will be reset”. Orbán noted the amount of repayments to banks in the country totals an annual 3,600 billion forints (EUR 10.3bn). Asked whether banks were cooperating, he said: “From their reactions, yes.” He noted that taxi drivers, caterers and hoteliers will enjoy tax relief for the duration of the crisis but further steps would be needed in this area.
Speaking about the elderly, he said: “If there’s a mass epidemic, they will face the greatest dangers and we’re concerned about them.” He said it would be preferable not to create mandatory rules for the elderly, but “I’m asking the elderly … to stay at home”. Orbán added that local councils had a duty to care for the elderly at home.