Mr Orbán said the third wave is the wave of the British virus variant which is much more aggressive than the earlier one was, and is also spreading faster.
As long as infections remained isolated, lockdown and staying at home helped. Now, however, there are mass infections, and so lockdowns and restrictions can only slow the spread of the virus down, but can no longer stop it, he said.
“In the spring, it was enough to introduce restrictions, and with those we could stop the spread of infections. This is a different virus now, here and now we can only slow it down by resorting to restrictions,” he stated.
“There is only one remedy, there is only one way we can stop this virus; not simply slow it down, but stop or kill this virus. That is vaccination”. Therefore, we must now focus all our energy on vaccination, he said.
The Prime Minister stated that by Wednesday Hungary had managed to procure vaccines sufficient for the inoculation of 2,011,029 persons; by 4 April, we will have administered 2,356,000 vaccines, while by the beginning of May 4,121,000. These include vaccines both from the East and the West.
According to the Prime Minister’s expectations, by the end of May or beginning of June, we could reach a quantity of vaccine supplies that is enough for 7 million first doses. He said it is to be hoped that those who have registered could receive their first doses sometime at the end of April or the beginning of May.
The Prime Minister took the view that there will be two and a half million first vaccinations “sometime after Easter” which will enable us to start the gradual reopening of the country.
We will be able to reopen schools, and we will also be able to reopen shops with a new kind of safety protocol which means that only one customer per 10 square metres will be allowed to remain on the premises at any one time, he said.
This could be followed by steps three and four; however, the Prime Minister does not yet want to talk about them, given that “at this time, there is still too much of a contrast between the high number of daily infections and the number of available vaccines”.
At the same time, he continued, the number of vaccines will increase which will change the number of infections, our mood and our overall approach to this whole problem, and we will be able to talk about the next steps of the reopening of the country more rationally, in a more reasonable manner.
He promised to inform members of the public about the latest measures adopted by the Operational Group at all times a week before the next series of measures.
Mr Orbán asked everyone to observe the rules. “There aren’t many rules, but they’re clear, straightforward and easy-to-understand. It is well worth observing them, and indeed, they can be observed,” he stated.
He said it is very important that people should not listen to anti-vaccination advice.
In his view, creating an anti-vaccination atmosphere and campaigning against vaccination is more than just a mistake; it amounts to a sin as a person who decides not to have themselves vaccinated because they listened to anti-vaccination politicians or fake doctors can easily die.
He added that he understands if some people decide not to have themselves vaccinated, but asked them not to talk others out of having themselves vaccinated.
Regarding hospital capacities, he spoke in words of the highest praise about the superhuman work of physicians, general practitioners and nurses. The Prime Minister believes that, even if at the expense of major efforts, there will be enough staff. “Even if it takes superhuman efforts, our hospitals will continue to work,” Mr Orbán stated. In his opinion, Hungarian health care is in much better shape, in particular, as regards human resources, than many may have thought earlier.
He said half of the designated beds reserved due to the coronavirus are still free, and there are approximately twice as many readily deployable ventilators, complete with beds, as are being occupied at present.
He asked everyone to give every support they can to nurses and physicians, and not to make their work more difficult with “scaremongering”.
This is not the time to walk into hospitals, “to fabricate fake videos or fake news,” he stressed.
The Prime Minister also said, as far as he can see, no one has been denied important care, meaning that health care is able to cope with the dual pressure, the care of those infected with the coronavirus and the care of the most critically ill patients.
Regarding the vaccination of teachers, the Prime Minister said he believes that a good week before the reopening of schools, they can receive the first dose, and with this, in his view, education with physical attendance is an acceptable option. He observed he understands if some teachers nonetheless decide against it, but no one should campaign against the reopening of schools because the interests of children and parents must also be taken into consideration. It is in their best interests that schools in a safe environment should be able to reopen as soon as possible.
With reference to the Easter holidays, he said “resurrection is victory, and we are now at the gates of victory”.
According to the Prime Minister, “we will have another two or three difficult weeks,” but afterwards “the uncertain voices of doubt will increasingly die down,” and we will be able to concentrate ever more energies on the actual restarting of the country; “our summer will be nice and sunny, and cheerful”.
“Now, however, our hearts are even more with those who have lost relatives, colleagues or any of their loved ones, we’re praying for them, and wish much strength to families which have suffered losses; in the meantime, we are preparing to retrieve our cheerful, happy and hopeful lives, restarting our communities, and believe me, this is now well within reach,” he said.
He took the view that we must return to the hopeful plans we had before the virus, be they about the economy, demographic data or families, and he is convinced that even if not in a single step, we will do so by the end of the summer.