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Coronavirus: Gov’t Finds Way to Extend Expiring Measures, says PMO Head

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.26.

The government has found ways to extend its coronavirus-related measures which would soon expire in lack of a parliamentary consensus, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told MTI on Thursday.

Speaking at his regular press conference, Gergely Gulyás said that government measures taken in a state of emergency would expire in 15 days, and extending them again for another 15 days “would strip parliament of its powers”.

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The government, therefore, asks the operators of universities and schools to order continued closure of those institutions till parliament’s decision next week, Gulyás said, and suggested that kindergartens and creches should also be closed down.

Gulyás: Budget resources in place to finance efforts against virus 

Efforts against the novel coronavirus epidemic will cost “several hundred billion forints”, but those resources are available from central coffers, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Gergely Gulyás said that the situation in Hungary was not nearly as bad as in most countries of Europe because the government had taken all necessary measures much earlier. He added, however, that the number of those infected could increase in leaps and bounds in the next days and weeks. He said that all conditions were in place to control the epidemic and the health care system was prepared to handle “the highest possible number” of patients.

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Gulyás thanked health-care and law-enforcement staff, adding that the success of preventative measures depended on their efforts.

Hungary currently has 2,500 respirators, and the government is bent on increasing that number, he said, adding that the government is in the process of purchasing equipment from abroad, but he noted uncertainties around deliveries.

Concerning the Covid-19 disease, Gulyás said 80-90 percent of the patients had no symptoms, but there were some that required hospitalisation. He added that few deaths were primarily caused by the novel coronavirus. “This is typically a secondary disease which becomes lethal because of another primary problem.”

Concerning the economy, Gulyás said the government was working to ensure the functioning of the economy and to save jobs. He noted a recently introduced moratorium on consumer and business debt servicing and a ban on increasing loan repayments from next year. He said the money left with households would help the economy survive.

Featured photo by Lajos Soós/MTI