• Kester Eddy

Coronavirus Hungary: Disgruntled Fidesz Politicians Seek Action as Cases Soar

Updated: Nov 5

The coronavirus pandemic in Hungary this week took on a new turn: as infections and

deaths rose to unprecedented levels, independent media reported whispers of discontent among Fidesz and Christian Democrat politicians.


In a story headlined “How many have to die? Now Fidesz representatives expect Orbán to tighten [regulations]”, website https://hvg.hu/ on Thursday described the mood amongst dissident government politicians it found willing to talk – on condition of anonymity. “I understand the need to pay attention to the economy, but that [argument alone] is no longer sustainable. Wherever I go, I hear [people asking]: how many more have to die for something to finally happen?” the politician said.

Photo: A poster on door, Budapest XII, offering

help for the elderly in the pandemic.

Described as “the representative of a large west Hungarian city”, the source emphasised that he was “over joyed” with the successes of Ferencváros FC (Fradi drew 2-2 with Dynamo Kyiv in a Champions League game on Wednesday evening*) but said it was “inexplicable” that football games are still being played in front of fans that “clearly do not abide by regulations” such as properly wearing masks. Mild it may be, but such dissent is rare in the decade-long reign of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who normally has his MPs held firmly on a leash. And this was before the worst of the news, as infections hit new records this weekend, with 3,908 reported on Saturday, and another 3,878 today. These pushed the total for the week to an unprecedented 19,952. This brings the average daily infection rate for the past seven days to 2,850 – almost 1,000, or 54% more per day than the previous week – and the total active cases detected nationwide to 57,302 - 0.6% of the population. Another record, 69 coronavirus deaths, was reported today, bringing the total for the week to 394, an average of 56 per day - more than double the average of just two weeks ago. For context, it took until May 9, more than two calendar months after the virus was first detected in the country, for the cumulative total of deaths to surpass the 394 recorded just last week.

The politician cited by hvg.hu also said it was “incomprehensible” that the 500-person limit imposed in the spring would continue to apply only to musical events, while "the whole country is teeming with crowded leisure, family and gastronomic events". Given that Mr Orbán reportedly pays inordinate attention to secret opinion polls conducted to monitor his own and his party's popularity, this relatively lax environment may not last much longer. *UPDATE: Journalist and Fradi fan Gary Morrell told Perspectives-Budapest that he estmated roughly 70% of the 7,000 fans at that game kept to the rules on mask-wearing. Fradi came back from two-nil down to earn the draw. Social distancing among fans in the ensuing excitement was “not always followed”, according to Morrell.

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