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The authorities are distributing four weeks of supplies to staff of health-care services, retirement homes and social institutions, which are about to get 2 million face masks, 307,000 surgical gloves and 7,000 protective gowns, a spokesman for the board coordinating efforts against the Covid-19 epidemic said. Tibor Lakatos, the head of the body’s emergency centre, said that the military commanders assigned to oversee the institutions will be monitoring the supplies. Regarding border traffic, Lakatos said the greatest pressure is expected on the Hungary-Austria border, with 13,000 people expected to cross every day. The police have conducted 7,534 inspections of people in home quarantine, Lakatos said, and found that 1,580 of the 11,036 had violated the regulations.
Speaking at the same online press conference, Chief Health Officer Cecilia Müller said the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases had been declining four days in a row.
On Friday, Müller signed an agreement with Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler and Zoltán Szilvássy, the dean of the Debrecen University, in eastern Hungary, on setting up a vaccine plant. This way, Hungary can become independent from outside sources in that respect too, she said, adding the plant would produce compulsory and other vaccines.
Regarding the lifting of movement restrictions outside Budapest and Pest County, Müller noted that although restaurants are now allowed to open, large gatherings are still banned. She asked cafes and restaurants to abide by physical distancing rules.
Answering a question on coronavirus infections at a retirement home on Budapest’s Pesti Road, Müller said 303 residents and 26 nurses had contracted the virus. So far, 41 of them have died and 60 have recovered, she said.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó noted that Hungary received over 6 million face masks, 25,000 protective gowns and 120 ventilators on Thursday and Friday. This week, over 600 ventilators arrived in Hungary, the largest number since the outbreak of the pandemic, Szijjártó said. Ventilators are an essential tool in combating the phase of mass infections, he noted, adding that the government will be preparing for such a scenario in the coming days and weeks.
Szijjártó also said on Facebook that the government will discuss doubling the budget for supporting the investments of businesses that save jobs, in light of the success of the scheme so far. The government originally earmarked 50 billion forints (EUR 143.0m) towards a programme launched three weeks ago together with the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) centred on subsidising the investments of companies that preserve jobs. So far, 280 companies have applied for the programme, undertaking a total of 138 billion forints’ worth of investments to preserve 50,828 jobs, the minister added.