- 8 Feb 2021 7:30 AM
- Hungary Matters
Gergely Gulyás told an online press conference that the second wave of the pandemic in Hungary was in a phase of stagnation, meaning any easing of restrictions would have to be “cautious and gradual”.
If current trends continue, the restrictions may be eased in two steps, on March 1 and a month later, he said.
Concerning vaccinations, Gulyás noted Hungary has effective agreements with Russia and China, giving the country a good chance of inoculating “significantly more” people in February and March than other European Union countries.
Gulyás said it was important for the government to implement measures that had widespread public support and to consider what measures Hungarians would be willing to accept and suffer.
Whereas the epidemic had appeared to be waning up to the end of last week, it now seemed to be stagnating, he said, adding that a new variant of the virus spreading faster than earlier ones may be a factor.
Hopefully a third wave could be prevented, he said. Gulyás noted that health-care staff, alongside residents and employees of homes for the elderly, have now been inoculated.
Gulyás said the government has received a request from the Hungarian Olympic Committee to give potential competitors in the Tokyo Olympics vaccination priority, and 800-900 doses have been set aside accordingly.
Asked whether Hungary would be prepared to supply ventilators to Portugal or provide any other help, he said aid would be considered if such move did not put Hungarian lives in a risk.
The minister called Hungary’s access to the EU’s recovery fund and seven-year financial framework a key issue of the year. The first tenders are scheduled to be called on February, and the government is working to guarantee the inflow of amounts well over 1,000 billion forints (EUR 2.8bn), he said.
These transfers, he said, were not donations but either loans to be repaid or monies due to Hungary because it had opened its market to the competitors of more advanced EU member states, he said.