Hungary will outline its plan of how to emerge from epidemic-related restrictions on May 3, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview on Monday.
The plan takes into consideration the related experiences of various countries, Orban told broadcaster Maria Radio. Hungary will be in “full protection mode” on May 3, he said, adding that from that time onwards the country could gradually return to normal life. “I’ll be in a position to talk about this on May 3-4 at the earliest,” he said. “By then I hope to be able to present a sober, serious plan to the country.”
Orban said the question remained how long it would take for the economy to recover. He added that his view was at the moderate point on the scale, seeing a smaller decline in growth than more pessimistic forecasts but a slower recovery than the most optimistic. In May next year “we’ll be able to talk in terms of an economy that can deliver the performance it did two months ago,” Orban said.
The prime minister warned there was no guarantee the epidemic would be kept under control. “So the issue is what the country should be prepared for.” He said he hoped to get past the current stage of the epidemic with the least losses but, at the same time, he said to be prepared for the worst, a scenario in which the spread of the epidemic may not be controlled or eliminated. In the latter scenario, there will be masses of patients who will need hospital beds, intensive care and a ventilator, he said, adding that “I live my life everyday doing this work”.
Hungary will reach such a level of preparedness by May 3, the prime minister insisted. Orban said that from his experiences of meeting many of his compatriots each day during the current crisis, he found that Hungarians “are more open, understanding and helpful”.
He said, however, that Hungarians had received “a warning”. Whereas the economy had been booming, wages were rising, everyone had a job, the aim, he said, was not only to prosper but to live a good life. “By all means, take advantage of opportunities, get rich, have a job and buy a new car … but remember that these things in themselves do not bring about bountiful or beautiful life; you have to make an effort … and you mustn’t forget about each other.”