Hungary’s authoritarian leader has granted himself dictatorial powers, but his neglect of the country’s health system and his powerlessness in the face of a depreciating currency will come back to haunt him.
- 35.6 Public Health
- 52.5 Financial
- 60 Fact-Based
Hungary scores above the median, but limited testing, efforts to limit press freedom, and a very weak stimulus package have weakened its score over time.
Hungary’s low debt, healthy population, and minimal inequality result in it having relatively strong socio-economic conditions and healthcare capacity.
- Debt/GDP ratio 71%
- GDP/capita $35,941
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 30.6
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 4
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 79.6
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 50.4
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
Hungary has a weak public health policy score, with some relaxed restrictions and very weak testing policy and low tests performed bringing its score down.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 3
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 2
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $71.98
- Travel restrictions 4
- Tests/1,000 people 378.2
- Contact tracing 1
Despite generous debt support, Hungary scores near the median due to a very weak stimulus package.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 6.2%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 1
Access to COVID-19-related press conferences has been restricted by Hungary’s government, which pre-selects journalists’ questions and has criminalized the spread of "fake news."
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 2
COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15
Hungary scores poorly in this category, as it continues to have high case and death rates after reopening; its relative positivity and death rates both rose substantially in the past two months.
- Total deaths 7,926
- Death rate per 100K 820.5
- Total cases 524,196
- Cases per 100K 156
- Percent of positive tests 24.1
- Change in positivity rates +9.7
|Restaurants and shops begin to reopen
|Restaurants, public pools, zoos, and public baths begin to reopen in Budapest
|Schools reopen, borders close
|State of emergency reintroduced, with nighttime curfew, restricted hours for stores and businesses, restaurants closures, and restrictions on hotels guests and public gatherings
|Extended restrictions until February 1st
|Lockdown extended to March 1st
|All non-essential shops closed for two weeks, along with kindergartens, schools, and gyms
- Hungary becomes first EU country to purchase Russian vaccine: Frustrated with delays in Western vaccines, Hungary has Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and is hoping to speed the processing of lifting widespread lockdown measures. Read More
- Hungary becomes first EU country to distribute Chinese vaccine: Hungary received 550,000 vaccine doses from the Chinese company Sinopharm, making it the first EU country to approve and use the Chinese-manufactured vaccine. Read More
- Immunity passports to Hungary: Hungary reopened its overall closed borders to travelers who had recovered from COVID-19 in the fall. Read More
- Hungary, Poland get concessions on COVID-19 EU relief: The EU agrees to modify rule-of-law language in a COVID-19 relief bill held up by Hungary and Poland; new language specifies that money needs to be spent on specific items, and not refer to broad rule-of-law issues. Read More
- Hungary's pandemic response harms healthcare sector: Hungary's heavy- (and light-) handed tactics to combat COVID-19, including seizing control of hospitals with no clear qualifications for those put in charge, moving cancer patients out of beds, but not increasing testing nor implementing lockdown conditions, has resulted in a devastated healthcare sector. Read More
- Hungary moves to end state of emergency: Hungary moved to end the state of emergency prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but critics suggest that Prime Minister Orban used it to consolidate power to the point that it was no longer needed. Read More
- Emergency powers consolidate control: Prime Minister Orban has been granted wide-reaching emergency powers to respond to coronavirus, but this has led to cover-ups and press suppression by the government which has been hostile to journalists for several years already. Read More
Compared with Regional Neighbors
Per 1M 10,229
Germany has improved its score a bit in the past few months, after a sharp decline in the fall. Its improvements in contact tracing, which are already likely underestimated in the data, and restrictions on public gatherings, have played important roles in this turnaround, although there has been a recent spike in cases, likely due to both recent restriction relaxations and vaccine rollout issues.
Per 1M 22,432
While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and improved contact tracing has helped slow the spread and slightly improved its overall score since January.
Per 1M 1,254
Switzerland's reliance on facts and an open media drove its score up to the median, helping to counter weak financial support and limited restrictions on social interactions.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million