COVID-19 is an infectious disease that emerged in late 2019 after China reported several cases. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Due to unknown characteristics and a large cluster of community transmission of the infection, many countries across the globe struggled to cope with it. Like many other countries worldwide, COVID-19 negatively impacted Hungary. However, the Hungarian COVID-19 vaccination program has seen success.
COVID-19 in Hungary
From January 3, 2020 to May 28, 2021, Hungary registered more than 803,000 confirmed cases. In total, Hungarian authorities registered and reported 29,597 deaths and most of those cases were in the capital city of Budapest. Reports indicated a significant number of cases in Hungary on March 26, 2021, with 11,265 new cases.
State of Emergency in Hungary
Due to the high numbers of COVID-19 cases on March 11, 2020, the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency. During a press conference, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyas said that Hungary may enforce the state of emergency for several months. However, on June 16, 2020, The National Assembly of Hungary canceled the state of emergency. At the same time, the country has strictly controlled the travel and entry restrictions to Hungary. Between March 8 and April 6, 2021, the government of Hungary announced new strict lockdown measures to slow the transmission of COVID-19. During the lockdown, all shops and services closed except food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations. Despite the high number of new infections since April 7, the Hungarian government announced that it would ease the lockdown. The main reason for it is the economic situation of the citizens of Hungary.
Hungarian COVID-19 Vaccination Success
As of April 8, 2021, Hungary vaccinated more than 2.6 million people. For context, the total population of Hungary is more than 9.6 million people. Hungary already provided more than 20% of its population with at least a first dose of a vaccine and more than 1 million people (11% of the population) with their second dose. To compare, the average vaccination rate among 27 E.U. member states was 12.3%.
At the same time, it is important to mention that the Hungarian government approved vaccines from China and Russia. Additionally, the E.U. has been providing Hungary with vaccinations. The Hungarian Prime Minister emphasized that vaccinations will only bring an end to the epidemic. He said that “vaccination is our primary, our only means of defense against the virus.” The Hungarian government plans to ease more restrictions when the number of vaccinated people reaches 2.5 million.
From the beginning of the lockdown measures, the Hungarian economy’s progress slowed. Unfortunately, the pandemic had a massive impact on Hungary’s national currency (forint) with it reaching an all-time low twice during 2020. Moreover, most cafes and restaurants have closed their doors for several months. Only the cafes and restaurants that can adopt the “take away” system can remain open. As a result, the lockdown measures resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.
Hungary also hosts many tourists each year. However, because of travel restrictions and lockdown measures, the number of tourists dramatically decreased, subsequently harming businesses and the economy of Hungary.
Due to COVID-19, Hungary faced economic and social challenges. For several months, the country was under strict lockdown measures. As a result, many people lost their jobs and business owners closed their businesses. The Hungarian government decided that the mass vaccination of the population was the only way out. The number of vaccinated people in the country is significant, showing the success of the Hungarian government’s vaccination program.
– Tofig Ismayilzada