Hungary will soon reach four million vaccinated people, the government’s requirement for the reopening of a wide range of services including sports events. The president of Hungary’s most popular football team, Ferencváros, is already expecting his team to play in front of spectators as early as Saturday. Given the current epidemic situation, there are still many who fear the impact of the crowded stadiums.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that once Hungary reaches four million vaccinated people, the next step of the country’s reopening can commence. As part of this, a wide range of services will open to those who have received at least their first jab and their vaccination certificate.
Hotels, theaters, cinemas, libraries, gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools, and several other venues will all be available to them.
With more than four million vaccinated people, sports events can be attended as well for those having a certificate.
According to current vaccination statistics, Hungary might be able to achieve this goal by Friday.
The leadership of Hungary’s most popular football team, Ferencváros, is already preparing to play in front of spectators even before next week. FTC is headed by none other than Gábor Kubatov, the party director of ruling Fidesz.
“Once we have four million vaccinated [people], we can cheer together on Saturday. Ticket sales have already started,” shared Kubatov on social media.
Since FTC has just won the championship, the open doors will surely inspire many people to go to the stadium and celebrate the success of the team with tens of thousands of other Ferencváros fans.
Football match attendance has long been the subject of heated debate in Hungary, especially since the ban on visiting matches was ordered quite late during the autumn, weeks after the second wave of the coronavirus hit the country quite hard. Lately, it was also revealed that Budapest will host several Euro 2021 matches in June with full houses, something only the Orbán government was brave enough in Europe to take on.
Many believe it is dangerous to allow crowds of people into stadiums during the current epidemic situation, especially without any safety measures, other than the requirement for the vaccination certificates. (Minors can even attend matches without these as their vaccination has not yet started in the country).
Furthermore, these plastic cards are automatically sent to people after they receive their first jab, so having them doesn’t automatically mean a necessary level of protection against the coronavirus has developed.
But according to the government, there is nothing to worry about.
When asked why won’t the Orbán government make wearing masks at sports and cultural events compulsory since the certificates don’t really prove immunity, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, said that the vaccination certificate arrives at least a week after the first jab- by that time, resistance already develops. Gulyás also emphasized that the most important difference however, is between those who have not been vaccinated and those who have had the first shot, adding that the second jab only increases the level of protection. However, this claim contradicts what health experts and vaccine developers have stated many times. Only Pfizer-BioNTech said that after 14 days, a significant level of protection develops in the people inoculated with their vaccine.
Receiving the first dose, Gulyás said, also gives everyone the opportunity to decide whether to visit public places afterward or wait for their second dose.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI