World Hungary’s Pandemic Woe: How to Get Rid of All Those Ventilators?
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Hungary’s parliament elected a new chief justice opposed by the nation’s top judges, reviving rule-of-law concerns in Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. Parliament, where Orban’s lawmakers held the two-thirds majority necessary to carry Monday’s vote, approved Constitutional Court Judge Andras Varga to take over as the chief justice of the supreme court, also known as the Kuria, on Jan. 1.
(Bloomberg) -- Hungary’s government has conceded that it bought too many ventilators earlier this year during the first wave of the pandemic. Now it’s trying to get rid of them.
“We’re able to sell those in excess of our strategic stockpile or we’re able to help others” by donating them, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told reporters on Thursday in Budapest.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government bought more than 16,000 ventilators this year and it’s trying to reduce its inventory by half, according to HVG.hu. Hungary has instructed its diplomats to try to sell the equipment abroad.
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Hungary had 255 patients on ventilators as of Wednesday, almost five times as many as in the beginning of October. In the past week, Hungary had the third-highest number of deaths per capita in the European Union after the Czech Republic and Belgium.
The government has spent 300 billion forint ($953 million) on ventilators this year. Between February and June, Germany, with a population more than eight times that of Hungary, procured almost twice as many ventilators and associated equipment as reported by mass for less than a tenth of the price paid by Budapest, Direkt36 news website
The purchases were also criticized by opposition parties because the number of ventilators far exceeded the number of medical personnel available to operate them in Hungary’s underfunded and understaffed health-care system.
Hungary bought the equipment when conditions were “abnormal” and every country was vying to purchase them, mostly from China, Szijjarto said on Thursday.
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N.Y.’s Cuomo Urges Vigilance; More Curbs in Europe: Virus Update .
The resurgent coronavirus continues to batter Europe. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary suffered their deadliest days of the pandemic. Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands are laying out new curbs, while French fatalities rose by 854, the most since April. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. joined banking rivals in asking most of its employees in England to work from home until further notice as figures showed the number of Covid deaths there and in Wales climbed 46% in a week.The rate of growth in U.S.