Prague, Czech Republic – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) has moved to sack Health Minister Roman Prymula and already found someone to succeed him to lead the fight against COVID-19.
Prymula, a top epidemiologist and leading figure in the fight against COVID-19 in the Czech Republic, was appointed Health Minister in Babis’ government only one month ago following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Adam Vojtech.
After pushing for tighter restrictions to contain the skyrocketing number of new cases of coronavirus infection and introducing a second lockdown earlier this week, Health Minister Roman Prymula was forced out by a scandal that caused outrage in the country.
On Friday morning, Czech tabloid Blesk published pictures of Prymula leaving a restaurant in Prague that should have been closed due to current restrictions, and not wearing a mask.
While Prime Minister Babis asked him to voluntarily offer his resignation, Prymula refused to step down, saying he had not violated any rules. He argued that the restaurant was closed to the public and was used for a private meeting with another politician from the ruling ANO party and the head of a Czech hospital.
In the face of growing public anger, Babis decided to remove him from his position.
President Milos Zeman is due to meet with Prymula’s potential successor on Tuesday. He will be the third Czech Health Minister this year.
The Czech Republic is currently battling one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, and has the highest rate of new infections in Europe. The current state of emergency and lockdown are set to expire on November 3, but will most likely be extended.
Main photo credit: M. Hykl, M. Pátek / Blesk