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Coronavirus – Mayor Karácsony: Gov’t ‘Dodges Responsibility’ for Easing Budapest Restrictions

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.05.14.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony has slammed the government for “dodging responsibility” on easing coronavirus-related restrictions in Budapest while “refusing real partnership”.

In a letter answering questions from PM office head Gergely Gulyás, posted on the mayor’s Facebook page on Thursday, Karácsony insisted the government had refused to share with the municipality detailed data on the rate of the infection in specific areas.

Karácsony said it was “unacceptable” that the “government, while enjoying special powers of an unprecedented scope during the state of emergency, is dodging political responsibility for easing the restrictions”.

(The government has decided to consult doctors and district mayors of Budapest before passing a decision on whether or not to ease restrictions in the city, originally planned for Wednesday.)

Coronavirus: Budapest Mayor Proposes Package to Reopen Capital

The mayor said the results of a representative survey by Hungarian universities had shown that “there were basically no new infections outside of hospitals or other institutions”.

Karácsony reiterated that Budapest has to be opened gradually once the status of the epidemic allows, while saying that “determining the pace and degree of the reopening measures is the responsibility of those holding detailed information on epidemiological data”.

PMO Head: Karácsony undecided

At a regular press conference later on Thursday, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, said the government was considering easing restrictions in Budapest. The government has sought the opinion of all district mayors and Karácsony, he noted, before turning to virologists and placing the final decision in the hands of the operative board coordinating the epidemic response.

Many district mayors “have expressed their opinions very clearly, while Budapest Mayor Karácsony seems to have no clear-cut view on the matter”, Gulyás said.

The government takes responsibility for the decision, Gulyás said.

New regulations will be made public on Friday or Saturday, he added.

Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI