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ORBÁN: GOVT TO BEGIN EASING RESTRICTIONS ONCE ENOUGH VACCINES ARE IN STOCK

 

The government will begin to gradually lift coronavirus-related restrictions once it has access to enough vaccines, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told lawmakers at the first plenary meeting of parliament’s spring session. Orbán said Hungary’s number one task was to procure as many vaccines as possible as quickly as possible. “We need every type of vaccine that works, is safe and has been used to inoculate millions of people worldwide,” he said. The prime minister noted that over a span of three months, Hungary will receive enough doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to inoculate 1 million people. Meanwhile, Hungary has also purchased enough doses of China’s Sinopharm jab for 2.5 million vaccinations, he added.
The cabinet has left its protective measures unchanged since November, which has helped Hungary rein in the pandemic, Orbán said. Countries that continuously make changes to their response measures, he said, had seen the start of a strong third wave of the pandemic. Orbán added, however, that case numbers were rising all across Europe, including in Hungary. Cases in Hungary have not declined for 10 days now and the pandemic’s downward trend has come to a halt, he said, adding that the country could see a possible uptick in cases again due to the easier spread of mutant variants of the virus. This was why, Orbán said, it was important for parliament to extend the special legal order and for the public to continue observing restrictions.
Concerning a reopening in the country, Orbán said the government’s aim was not only to “flip the ‘Closed’ sign over” but to fully reopen the entire economy and social civil life. “We want to emerge stronger from this pandemic, stronger than how we entered it,” the prime minister said, calling vaccines procured in large enough quantities a precondition for a new start in Hungary. He noted that the government is launching a National Consultation public survey concerning when to lift restrictions, in which people will be asked to respond to seven questions.