Photo: MTI

Conditions set for protection against epidemic

The conditions are in place in Hungary for effective protection efforts against the novel coronavirus epidemic, the head of the Prime Minister's Office said on Friday.

Capacity is sufficient in terms of available hospital beds and ventilators, and there are reliable supplies of masks, gloves and other protective equipment, Gergely Gulyas told a regular press briefing.

He said the government considered the protection of people’s lives the top priority. The number of new infections is not the most important indicator, he said, adding that Hungary’s position, however, was good in European comparison. “The virus must not be allowed to destroy everyday life,” he added.

Hungary has overcome the first wave of the epidemic with the lowest loss among EU member states in terms of employment figures, he said.

HUF 10,000 bn on hand for protection

Hungary has allocated some 10,000 billion forints (EUR 28bn) for protection efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, of which 792 billion has already been spent to curb the spread of the virus and 2,000 billion on boosting the economy, Gulyas said.

Introducing a moratorium on debt payments has covered 3,000 billion forints so far, Gulyas said. Two-thirds of companies and over half of private individuals have availed themselves of the moratorium, he said.

Capital and guarantee schemes have come to 2,100 billion while the central Bank has launched a growth credit programme to the tune of 1,500 billion forints, he said.

Hungary’s economy fared better than the EU average in the first half of 2020, but it has nevertheless contracted by 6.1 percent, Gulyas said, adding that boosting the economy, preserving jobs and a disciplined protection efforts were all the more important, he said.

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