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.
- 49.4 Public Health
- 83.3 Financial
- 60 Fact-Based
Hungary's overall score has fallen notably since August, with median public health policy and efforts to limit press freedom during the pandemic undermining relatively strong financial policy.
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 Sep 1.)
Public Health Directives
Hungary scores near the median on public health policy, driven by limited testing, few emergency healthcare funds, and limited restrictions on public gatherings, although it does have strong contact tracing.
- Stay at home order 1
- Public gathering restrictions 2
- School closings 2
- Public event cancellations 1
- Testing policy 1
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $71.94
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 44.3
- Contact tracing 2
Hungary’s stimulus package is fairly weak, although its generous income and debt support help keep its score relatively strong.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 3.6%
- Income support 2
- 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 Sep 1
Hungary is very strong in this category, consistent across all subcategories, especially its very low positivity rate, but its mounting press limitations raise concerns about the accuracy of numbers and how transparent and accountable the government will be moving forward.
- Total deaths 615
- Death rate per 100K 63.7
- Total cases 6,139
- Cases per 100K 636
- Percent of positive tests 2.7
- Change in positivity rates +2.3
|1||May 04||Restaurants and shops begin to reopen||6.68|
|2||May 18||Restaurants, public pools, zoos, and public baths begin to reopen in Budapest||3.71|
- Hungary to close borders: In an effort to slow down rising COVID-19 cases, Hungary will close down its borders to foreigners on September 1st and require all Hungarians returning from abroad to go into quarantine until they have had two negative tests. 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
- Foreign minister threatens to fire diplomats over teleworking during pandemic: Hungary's Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has said he will fire any diplomats who request to work from a home office, arguing the job requires a personal touch. 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
- Lack of ventilators caused concern: Hungary's tax-payer funded healthcare system is widely available, and free for children, parents and the elderly, however before the pandemic hit it was already suffering from a shortage of ICU beds and ventilators. Read More
- Economic downturn affects young people the most: The Defense Ministry has reported that applications to join the military have doubled since January, as more and more young people seek a stable career in the face of what is predicted to be a devastating economic downturn. Read More
Compared with Regional Neighbors
Per 1M 9,302
Germany’s pandemic response has been praised around the world for its rapidly implemented contact tracing strategy and science-based leadership, which contribute to its relatively strong performance in the Index.
Per 1M 35,483
While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and relatively strong public health policies helped slow the spread and resulted in a relatively strong performance; its relatively limited financial response could have been impacted by its high levels of debt.
Per 1M 1,725
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