When we toasted the arrival of 2020, nobody knew what the new year had in store, and no one would have believed that 2020 would bring a pandemic.
It was the last day of 2019, December 31, when the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a cluster of infections and the novel coronavirus was identified. Then, January 5 was the day the World Health Organization published its first official report on the “Pneumonia of unknown cause — China.” At that time, we didn’t have anything to worry about yet over here in Hungary.
On March 4, 2020, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on his Facebook page that the coronavirus had appeared in Hungary via two infected Iranian students, and the country “entered the stage of defense.”
From this point on, events sped up, as on March 11, the Hungarian Government ordered a state of emergency, and on March 13, the prime minister announced the establishment of 10 emergency action groups and the closure of schools starting that next Monday. The government launched new economic protection measures (including a loan moratorium and tax exemptions) to support those sectors of the economy hardest hit by the pandemic.
After the first wave, the biggest challenge was to restart the economy, get back to normal life, and create as many jobs as the coronavirus destroyed; at the same time, we could not forget that the virus was still with us, it had not disappeared, and the epidemiological preparedness had to remain.
Summer 2019 wasn’t about holidays; instead, it was about protecting jobs, supporting families, rebooting tourism, and planning the next budget. Then the second wave arrived in Europe and again countries had to close their borders.
But this time, despite having to close our borders, Hungary did not shut down the economy.
The government then introduced a set of new measures in September and ordered a curfew on November 9. Hungary has been negotiating with different drug companies for coronavirus vaccines, and vaccinations will start at the beginning of 2021.