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Addressing a regular press briefing, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said Europe was on the verge of a new debate concerning the distribution of migrants under Germany’s upcoming EU presidency. Gulyás emphasised that the Visegrad Group countries would not take in any migrants. He said most politicians commenting on the issue appeared to respect this position and were expecting “flexible solidarity”. He said hotspots were another option for the placement of asylum seekers until their applications are reviewed. Hungary cannot be expected to comply with any rules that go beyond the humanitarian laws laid out in the Geneva Conventions, he said, adding that there were some 800 people in Hungary who have been granted refugee status.
In response to questions about health care, Gulyás said the government has asked the Ministry of Human Resources to do a calculation of the amount of funding hospitals require for performing surgeries that had to be postponed due to the epidemic. The government is prepared to provide financial aid to the sector, he added.
Asked about a potential overhaul of the health-care sector, Gulyás said the government was not approaching the matter from the point of view of hospital bed capacity. The issue, he said, was not that there were too many beds, but rather that they were not distributed properly, so some beds may be reallocated among departments.
On the subject of criticisms levelled at Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller, Gulyás slammed the attacks he said had “aimed to drag the chief medical officer into politics”. He praised Müller’s work, adding that he believed the chief medical officer was worthy of an award.
Asked about the situation at the retirement home on Pesti Road, in Budapest’s eastern suburbs, Gulyás said an inspection of the facility after a surge of coronavirus cases there had found that the home’s operator bore responsibility for several hygiene breaches at the home. The Metropolitan Council, however, appealed the decision and the matter will have to be resolved in court, he added. On another subject, Gulyás said the public education sector had demonstrated during the epidemic that it can handle online classes. He expressed hope that there would not be a need to close schools during a second wave, adding, however, that it was important for the sector to be ready to transition to online classes if needed.