The ruling Fidesz party has rejected opposition claims regarding its response to the novel coronavirus epidemic and called on the opposition parties to “stop spreading fake news”. In a video posted on Facebook, Fidesz communications chief István Hollik insisted that the opposition “has decided to continue its politically motivated attacks as if nothing had happened”. Regarding the Democratic Coalition’s (DK) claim that testing for the virus is insufficient in Hungary, Hollik said the country has outperformed threefold the World Health Organisation’s guidelines regarding testing among the contacts of those infected. Hollik called the Párbeszéd party’s claim that Hungary’s Covid-19 death rate is the highest in the world “untrue”, adding that Hungary’s death toll is in fact below EU average and a fraction of that in Belgium, France or Sweden.
Concerning the retirement home in Budapest’s Pesti Road, where 27 people died and some 300 had been infected with the virus, Hollik insisted that Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony kept “dodging responsibility”. The authorities have conducted three inspections within the past two days, and found no doctors present on either occasion, he said.
At another press conference, Hollik said Karácsony should “stick to the law”, adding that “lives depend on what he does”. He said it was “shocking and sad” that the Budapest municipality that runs the nursing home on Pesti Road had not upheld the legal requirement that a medical practitioner should be on the premises at all times. He insisted that the care home is now at the heart of the epidemic in Hungary, with more than half of its nearly 500 residents having become infected, while dozens have died. Government inspections have shown the shortcoming on a number of occasions, yet the mayor has consistently denied it, he added. Karácsony should observe all laws rather than resort to posting documents on social media, Hollik said.
Answering a journalist’s question, the ruling party politician insisted that government measures to contain the epidemic were effective, and international comparative data confirmed this. There are far fewer deaths in terms of the population here than the European average, he added.