Today, as time and results have shown, the Coronavirus Protection Act served the country well because it enabled the government to take swift action, closing borders (which Hungary did early on), enacting movement restrictions, enforcing quarantines, slowing the spread of the disease, and ensuring that our national healthcare system has the medical and protective equipment necessary to treat all those who require care.
“Compared to other countries,” said Prime Minister Orbán in a recent interview, “we were able to make decisions one or two weeks earlier.” While nearly 500 people in Hungary have died from the disease – far too many – because of this ability to act decisively, the prime minister said: “we can say that the defense has saved the lives of thousands of elderly people.”
According to statistics out of Johns Hopkins Universitys Coronavirus Resource Center, Hungary has 38.73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in Hungary, one of the lower rates in Europe, especially compared to western European countries where the figure is in the hundreds (e.g., 278.88 in France, 183.24 in Austria, and 380.80 in the United Kingdom).
We anticipate that the economic data on April and May will be tough, but these extraordinary measures also enabled the government to move decisively to protect jobs, support wages, provide financial relief to those operating in some of the hardest hit sectors and offer government-backed, preferential loans. As we begin to lift restrictions and open up the economy again, were working hard on recovery.
To our vociferous critics, this might be a good time to offer an apology, but that would require some humility and a sense of good will, so I suspect we will not be hearing any.