Out of the 21,000 PCR tests carried out in the capital since September 816 were positive, Ambrus Kiss, a deputy mayor of Budapest, said on Thursday, adding that data indicate that the number of new cases in the city were below the national average.
Kiss told an online forum that the number of infected people in nursing homes was declining fast, while the number of people recovering from the virus had increased significantly. This possibly indicates that the second wave in nursing homes has hit its peak and is now waning, he added.
Meanwhile, on the topic of the municipality’s recently announced information campaign, he said the campaign would cost Budapest taxpayers 22 million forints (EUR 61,500) plus VAT. Starting next week, information stickers will be pasted on buses, waste bins and the side of garbage trucks drawing attention to public services that could be jeopardised by “government austerity” amid the coronavirus crisis. He said the central government measures to reduce the amount of business tax local councils can collect could result in their insolvency by the end of November.
Addressing the accusation that the municipality was needlessly spending extra money on renovating the city’s iconic Chain Bridge by accepting a more expensive bid, he said the technical content of the two tenders were not comparable. Also, he insisted that a contract with the company that lost the tender would have been more expensive.
Asked about criticism of the municipality’s handling of outdoor advertising space on the city’s public transport network, he denigrated the previous contract with French company JCDecaux, saying new contracts going forward offered preferential terms.
Responding to a report that the municipality has embarked on a selling spree of real estate in the capital, Kiss said the municipality was on the verge of insolvency due to the epidemic, economic crisis and central government measures hitting its ability to raise revenues, and selling inessential properties therefore made sense.
featured image via Zoltán Balogh/MTI