Referring to the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic, Áder paid tribute to pharmacists, shopkeepers, suppliers and drivers, as well as teachers "who have adapted to the hardship of distance learning with impressive creativity and responsibility".

He said that at the start of 2020 no one had been prepared for "a world turned upside down". In the run-up to Easter, fear and uncertainty had replaced the sense of optimism of the new year. This was a time of "recession instead of development and restrictions instead of freedom".

Áder said: "Many of us are already in mourning and worried about loved ones fighting sickness ... We have lost our certainty and freedom of movement, and the lives and livelihoods of many of us are at risk. The growing losses are making us sad and wretched."

He made special mention of soldiers and police patrolling the borders and ensuring the country's security. The president praised "people making face masks, shopping for elderly neighbours, supporting those who are on their own", and people volunteering through ad-hoc networks.

"We also owe thanks to those who have made it possible for schools to continue in a virtual space ... to those who take care of the mental health of the isolated, providing them with literature, art and music over the internet ... those who keep communities together through online religious services and nurture hope through common prayer.

"I ask all my fellow Hungarians to think of our nearest and dearest ... and understand that we can save lives if we observe the restrictions, even during the Easter holidays. Keep a safe distance from each other, even if it is especially difficult at this time, so that we all can soon reunite in good health."

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