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475 ventilators have been donated abroad by the Foreign Ministry, after they had overbought them at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, RTL Klub and HVG reported. There are friendly organizations, countries, and hospitals close to the Hungarian border among those on the receiving end, while the gifts’ total value amounts to almost HUF 10 billion (EUR 28 million).

As we previously reported, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak the Hungarian government overbought ventilators. The government ordered more than 16,000 respiratory apparatus, worth some HUF 300 billion (EUR 840 million) in total. Most of them are being stored in warehouses, and according to HVG’s earlier findings, it costs almost HUF 90 million (EUR 252,000) a month to store them.

While officially the Ministry planned to sell them, as of now not one has been purchased so far. The government, however, began to ‘use’ them for diplomacy and charity purposes.

According to freshly published data, the largest stock of 150 ventilators went to the Czech Republic, worth roughly HUF 3.6 billion (EUR 10.1 million). Other countries on the list are: Bosnia and Herzegovina (30 machines), Lebanon (20), Kyrgyzstan (20), Jordan (10), and Uganda (18).

In total, 100 ventilators went to Transcarpathia, Ukraine. The local branch of the Hungarian Ecumenical Charity Organization received 50, as did the ADVANCE Transcarpathian Advocacy and Development Center charity organization.

The Clinical Center of Vojvodina in Serbia has been provided with another hundred machines, and the St. Lucas Hospital in Galánta (Galanta), Slovakia received ten. Slovakia received an additional 17 apparatus.

The total, final worth and number of these donated ventilators have yet to be clarified. However, calculating with the data that HVG recently received from the Foreign Ministry (reflecting only the February standing in terms of the total number of donated ventilators, which was 380 at the time), the average price of one machine comes to HUF 20.7 million (EUR 58,000), hence 475 machines (that were given out after having put together HVG’s and RTL Klub’s information) could have cost around HUF 9.8 billion for Hungary last year.

featured image: workers packing the ventilators donated for the Czech Republic in October; via Zoltán Balogh/MTI