Hungary will soon begin easing coronavirus restrictions, but it will proceed carefully and most measures will remain in place where they are warranted, minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said on Tuesday in an interview with Budapest news station InfoRádió.
The interview was conducted just one day before the cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday where the government, as announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last week, will decide on lifting some of the existing restrictions in an attempt to gradually reboot the economy after the May 1 weekend.
Gulyás said that in deciding on the extent of the easing, the government will consider the state of the economy, the population’s endurance threshold and the dynamics of the disease.
“All of Europe is working on exit strategies and releasing timetables, but these must be taken with a grain of salt as not all measures will actually be implemented,” Gulyás said. “We [in the government] also think that the best we can do is define directions or approximate dates, but we must keep assessing the actual situation. One-third of Hungary’s population is currently living under conditions that they can’t even go out in the garden and being locked up under such conditions is an enormous challenge.”
Gulyás said that where the economy can be restarted without endangering people’s health and lives, the government will do so.
He added that taking into account that almost two-thirds of the coronavirus cases in Hungary are in and around Budapest, the decisions to lift some restrictions will be made accordingly and probably in a differentiated manner.
The measures decided at today’s cabinet meeting are expected to be made public on Thursday, ahead of the May 1 holiday on Friday.
According to the latest official count, Hungary has 2,727 coronavirus cases, 300 casualties and 10,071 people in mandatory home isolation.
Title image: Nurses at a coronavirus-ready intensive care unit at the Budapest Szent László Hospital for Infectious Diseases. (MTI/Zoltán Balogh)