At the same time, on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary,’ Viktor Orbán asked everyone to remain cautious and to observe the rules also during the Easter holidays.
He said, according to the Operational Group’s data, more than 260 persons have died in the last 24 hours, and more than 9,000 new infections have been registered. At the same time, on Friday, the number of persons who have already been vaccinated stood at 2,156,680, and another 863,000 persons have received their second doses as well.
He pointed out that during the week beginning on 4 April, the number of vaccinated persons will reach 2,356,000, the week ending on 13 April, it will reach three million, while the week thereafter, the number of first-dose vaccinations will be above 3.5 million.
He stressed that the percentages of the sick, the dead, the available vaccines and the number of those having been vaccinated “will steadily improve” during the period ahead.
According to the Prime Minister, it will be another two to three weeks “before the balance will tip over,” meaning that we are slowly reaching the point where the vaccinations that kill the virus will begin to have a spectacular and perceivable effect also on the number of fatalities and the number of new infections.
He indicated that during the period ahead, vaccination will speed up, more vaccines will arrive, and supplies received from the West, too, will arrive more punctually than earlier.
“13 April could be the day, give or take a day or two” when the number of those having received their first vaccinations will exceed 3 million which will offer us another opportunity “to return to or at least take another step towards our earlier lives,” he said.
He confirmed that a day or two after Easter, we will have completed 2.5 million first-dose vaccinations, and then the opening hours of shops and services will change. He added that the decree on this had already been published; businesses and service industry workers will have had more than two weeks to prepare, and subject to compliance with some safety regulations, they will be able to reopen their businesses, changing over to restrictions based on a fixed number of square metres.
On 19 April, he continued, nursery schools, elementary schools and secondary schools will reopen, too. The next step will be taken when the number of first-dose vaccinations reaches 3 to 3.5 million, but he will inform members of the public about this in next Friday’s interview, he said.
At the same time, the Prime Minister asked everyone to remain cautious and to observe the rules also during the Easter holidays. He said, at this time of year “in peacetime” people visit and sprinkle one another, there are family gatherings; however, “we should limit these” now. If we fail to observe the restrictions in effect, and because of the holidays “we ignore them,” Easter “could bring about more trouble,” he highlighted.
He added that those who have already been vaccinated can move about and visit family members more freely; however, those who have not yet received the vaccine should pay attention to their well-being as well as to that of others that they might infect.
He stressed that those who believe that the virus can be stopped with lockdowns are wrong. In his view, this was true of the virus last year, but the new British variant is different which with restrictions can only be slowed down, but not stopped.
At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that a number of Western European countries have far fewer vaccines than Hungary, and therefore, the Germans, the Austrians and the French “have every reason” to tighten the rules because they are a whole phase behind Hungary, they have no Russian or Chinese vaccines.
“We didn’t go down that path; we said it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice. Meaning that, for all I care, the vaccine could be called any name; if the Hungarian authorities say that it’s safe and effective, we will make it available,” he said.
At the same time, in his view, in Western Europe there is still “a sense of superiority left over from colonial times” and they want to prove that they are able to solve this problem better by relying solely on their own resources. He took the view that this has no basis at all, and once the crisis is over, they will see that approximately 70 per cent of the world will have been vaccinated with Eastern vaccines, and only 30 per cent, at most, with Western vaccines.
The Prime Minister described the anti-vaccination campaign as a sin, stressing that people who listen to the Left and are talked out of having themselves vaccinated could and will die.
He also reported that 81 per cent of persons over 65 who registered have already been inoculated, and as a result, there are only 250,000 elderly registered persons who have not yet received the vaccine. However, they, too, will be vaccinated in the coming days.
He said the number of registered persons currently stands at 3.7 million. He added that, in theory, there could be a point – as vaccine procurements are making good progress at this time – when there could be more vaccines than persons who registered. Therefore, he continued, he asked the Operational Group to determine whether young people aged between 16 and 18 years could also be inoculated.
He also said if people see that the availability of certain services and “the opportunities necessary for a happy social life” are connected to the verification of immunity, registration will be “given a boost,” more people will come to the conclusion that it is worth having themselves vaccinated.
He stressed that the entire country is observing the heroic struggle of physicians, general practitioners and nurses with profound appreciation. “They are our heroes,” he said. He asked everyone to give them the respect they deserve, and to stop talking about the collapse of health care because with this they undermine the efforts of physicians and nurses. “It’s Good Friday today, a day of solemnity, but what is most important is that on Sunday morning the sun will rise, resurrection will come, and we can contemplate, even amidst our present-day troubles, that there will be resurrection, there will be Hungarian resurrection. […] We’re on our way to freedom,” he said.