Orban says Hungary coronavirus outbreak expected to peak on May 3

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during a business conference in Budapest, Hungary, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo

Experts in Hungary expect the coronavirus epidemic to peak on May 3, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a video posted on his official Facebook page on Sunday.

Orban, who was visiting a hospital in the town of Ajka west of Budapest, said that by then Hungary would have 5,000 ventilators, up from just over 2,000 now. He said that figure would later rise to 8,000, which would be enough to treat all COVID-19 patients who need to be put on the machines.

“The number (of ventilators) will go up to 8,000 and then anything can happen. That is enough, even at a time of war,” Orban told a doctor in the video.

On Sunday, Hungary had 1,916 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and 189 people have died.

The crisis has presented Orban with the toughest challenge to his decade-long rule. His response – to rule by decree indefinitely, after receiving parliament’s authorisation, to tackle the outbreak – has drawn criticism from the European Union.

Hungary has responded to the criticism by saying parliament can revoke that authorisation at any time.

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