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Hungary in the second wave of the pandemic

September 15th, 2020

As the numbers of new coronavirus infections surge and the government introduces new measures to contain the epidemic, analysts urge more social distancing and testing.

As coronavirus infections hit a record high, on Saturday Prime Minister Orbán in an interview with M1 called on Hungarians to observe the social distancing and other regulations in order to keep the epidemic at bay. Hungarian hospitals are prepared for another wave of the virus, he said, and all those infected in need of medical help will be taken care of. He added that the government wants to keep schools open and the economy running. PM Orbán said that the government’s primary aim is to keep the death toll as low as possible rather than focusing only on the number of infections. The Prime Minister announced that people not wearing masks on public transport and in shops will be penalized, and children’s temperatures will be checked in schools every morning.

On Portfolio, Gergely Csiki, József Hornyák and István Madár (in an article published right before PM Orbán’s speech) estimate that the looming second wave of the coronavirus will be bigger than the first one. The business analysts take it for granted that the number of those hospitalized will increase. They fear that although there are enough beds, hospitals may not be able to cope with a huge spike due to the lack of doctors and nurses, particularly if the virus again hits health care personnel. The authors believe that it would be crucial to suppress the reproduction rate below today’s estimated 2-2.5 per cent by introducing tougher social distancing measures and more testing.

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