Hungary aims to inoculate population by June


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Hungary aims to inoculate its population against the coronavirus by June, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

"We hope that by June or even in May that the full inoculation of Hungary's population can be achieved," Gulyás said.

He said experts believe Hungary is "moving closer to the peak of the third wave of the pandemic".

"We clearly see from the numbers that now is not the time for an easing of restrictions," he added.

Hungary tightened pandemic restrictions early in March to curb rapidly rising coronavirus infection numbers. Non-essential businesses were closed between March 8 and 22, while primary school pupils returned to digital classrooms until April 7, the end of the Easter break.

Gulyás said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will announce pandemic-related measures in a weekly radio interview on Friday.

"The Operative Corps will meet tomorrow with the participation of the prime minister. Afterwards, the prime minister will announce plans and measures for the coming weeks on Kossuth Radio," Gulyás noted.

He added that there are still more than 11,000 hospital beds reserved for COVID patients and 1,700 beds with ventilators. 

"There are no capacity problems," he said.

He noted that a national consultation surveying Hungarians on their views of how the country should re-open would end at 8 p.m. on Thursday, adding that the government would weigh the results when deciding on how to ease restrictions. Any easing would be linked to the number of people who have been inoculated.

Fielding questions, Gulyás explained that the cost of a flight to China with the state's recently acquired cargo aircraft was "around EUR 70,000", while the cost of renting such an aircraft for the trip was "a little over EUR 200,000".

Taking another question, he noted that the government has no plans to introduce a bond for pensioners.


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