The new Minister of Health is Roman Prymula. He was appointed to the position this afternoon by President Miloš Zeman.
The epidemiologist Prymula replaced Adam Vojtech, who announced his resignation to journalists this morning. He stated that by leaving, he wanted to create space for a new solution to the coronavirus epidemic at a time when the situation in the Czech Republic had significantly deteriorated. According to the opposition, which has been calling for Vojtěch’s departure since the spring, the change in the Ministry of Health head came late. It does not solve anything, and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is responsible for the crisis. The Prime Minister will give a speech on television tonight.
Vojtěch announced to the Prime Minister his decision to resign from the ministerial position on Friday evening at a personal meeting. The Prime Minister discussed the matter with the President on Sunday.
According to Babiš, Vojtěch remains a deputy and will cooperate with the Ministry of Health on conceptual issues, such as nurse’s and doctors’ education or the fight against cancer.
Today, Babiš praised Vojtěch several times in front of journalists for his work at the ministry and stated that the outgoing minister always had his support. He was good at conceptual matters, but the office needs crisis management during a pandemic. According to the Prime Minister, Prymula has the prerequisites for this and former service in the army.
Since 2017, Prymula has been working as Deputy Minister of Health, becoming Miloslav Ludvík under Minister of Health. Previously, the former director of the Hradec Králové University Hospital worked as a consultant at the ministry. He had to resign as deputy minister due to a lack of security clearance. According to the law, he will not need it as a minister. The general public got to know Prymula after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic when he coordinated actions against the disease’s spread at the Ministry of Health.
“I can’t imagine anyone more competent to lead the fight against the second wave of the pandemic,” Zeman told Prymula after the appointment. “I know how well you did when you fought the first wave. And I fully believe that you will still be able to do it in a very, very difficult situation,” he added.
Prymula, as head of the ministry, wants to improve communication-related to the coronavirus epidemic dramatically, he told the SeznamZprávy server. According to him, the measures issued must be unambiguous and understandable. He believes that he was chosen to head the ministry because he knows the former deputy. “I believe that if there were no crisis here, I would consider it very much, because I have repeatedly stated that I do not want to go into politics, and the minister is already a position that is undoubtedly political,” he said. According to him, the situation requires a very urgent solution, so he did not have a chance to refuse. It would be frivolous. He did not rule out that there would be minor personnel changes in the ministry.
Vojtěch, 33, is the third longest-serving Minister of Health, heading the ministry for two years and nine months. According to the Prime Minister, Vojtěch, at the head of the ministry, did more work than most of his predecessors and managed to fight the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic “incredibly.” If Vojtěch did not have to expend all his energy on the fight against coronavirus, he would one day be remembered as the best minister of health, the prime minister believes. He used to criticize Vojtěch and his ministry several times.
Numbers infected with coronavirus have been rising sharply since the beginning of September. Last Thursday, more than 3,000 cases were added in a single day, which was a similar number as in the whole of March, when the disease began to spread in the Czech Republic. The number of hospitalized, severe patients, and deaths with COVID-19 is also rising. Vojtěch is convinced that he did his best to manage the epidemic and managed to push through several positive changes in the ministry.
In the ranking of the popularity of politicians, which was published today by the STEM agency, Vojtěch took third place in September for Babiš and the Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček. He was sixth in January before the outbreak.
According to some opposition politicians and political scientists, Vojtěch was Babiš’s bastard. The opinions of the professional public on Vojtěch differ. According to epidemiologists.
The opposition blames Babiš for often incompetently interfering in Vojtěch’s work, but then blaming his ministry on his ministry. Confusion, for example, was accompanied by the partial reintroduction of wearing face masks after the holidays.
Vojtěch first announced that the face masks would be worn again in public transport, at offices, in shops, in schools outside the classroom, and at public events from September. He later added that they would also be mandatory in hairdressing services and restaurants outside of consumption. Later, however, after negotiations with Babiš, he announced that the obligation would not apply to schools, shops, restaurants, and services. This has changed again after a recent increase in the number of infected and hospitalized people, and according to experts, the infection is spreading very quickly.