Opposition Accuses Government of ‘Abandoning’ GPs, Local Councils


Hungary’s government has “abandoned” general practitioners and local councils in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the opposition parties said.

Addressing a joint press conference after a meeting of the Covid 2021 opposition assessment committee, Socialist Party co-leader Ágnes Kunhalmi said the body had heard from GPs and the mayors of Budapest, Szombathely and Baja about the difficulties they had faced during the pandemic. “The government doesn’t see GPs or mayors as partners,” Kunhalmi said. She said that while GPs were becoming increasingly overburdened, Hungary’s local councils had been “much better prepared for the second wave of the pandemic” and would do everything they could to help residents “weather the government’s austerity measures”. Katalin Cseh, an MEP of the liberal Momentum Movement, said that the government was “not only helpless against the pandemic, but also evil for not wanting to help GPs and local councils”. Cseh insisted that even those who administer the Covid vaccines were unfamiliar with the government’s vaccination plan, and demanded that the government outline its plan. Bence Tordai of the liberal Párbeszéd said that while the government was imposing “hasty and amateurish” pandemic response measures, the local councils were managing the crisis with professionalism. “Hungary may not have a responsible government right now, but it does have responsible local council leaders,” he said.

Democratic Coalition MP Zoltán Varga said the country was “looking back on a surreal year”. “The panic government’s weak and cowardly prime minister spends half a billion forints a day on his own hobby, sports,” he said. Varga accused the government of rejecting half of the “safe Western vaccines” purchased by the European Union that Hungary would be entitled to and instead wanting to inoculate the public using “potentially fake Eastern vaccines dug up from here and there”. Jobbik deputy leader László György Lukács said that while the weight of the pandemic had been thrust onto the shoulders of GPs, the government had “abandoned” them. He said the government had also failed to understand the importance of testing the elderly who are discharged from hospital and moved back into retirement homes. Antal Csárdi, LMP’s deputy group leader, accused the government of undermining opposition-led localities. He said many of the government’s pandemic response measures “serve no other purpose than to draw funds away from local councils, making it harder for them to function”.




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