Hungary’s timely response measures to the novel coronavirus outbreak have successfully slowed the virus’s spread, and the country is ready to embark on a gradual reopening of the economy early next month, the innovation and technology minister said in a statement on Thursday.
Thanks to the public’s disciplined compliance with the government’s social distancing measures, the number of personal interactions across the country has fallen by 70-90 percent in the recent period, depending on the type of locality, László Palkovics said.
Until April 21, the number of daily new confirmed coronavirus cases only exceeded 100 on five occasions, he said. Most Covid-19 cases have been registered in closed communities, he said, adding that Hungary had successfully avoided a nationwide pandemic during what he said was the country’s first phase of response measures.
But maintaining wide-ranging restrictions would take a toll on the economy in the long run, Palkovics said. He said Hungary would enter its second phase of response measures in early May and would have to determine the conditions and schedule required for a safe and gradual easing of restrictions.
According to Prime Minister Orbán Viktor and the chief medical officer, the coronavirus peak is expected as early as May 3rd in Hungary. However, PMO Head Gergely Gulyás added that the so-called plateau will last for weeks. The Hungarian government has recently ordered the hospital directors to free up 60 percent of their beds in days as preparation for a mass infection.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI