New health minister Jan Blatný vows to combat crippling fear

"I can't tell you right after taking up the post what I will do," the new health minister said.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 29.11.2020 02:44 (updated on 30.10.2020)

New Czech Health Minister Jan Blatny sees changing the atmosphere around coronavirus in society as his main task stepping into the role, he told journalists after his inauguration.

Blatny, a prominent hematologist, replaced ex-Health Minister Roman Prymula this week. Prymula resigned after he was spotted leaving a restaurant without his face mask on.

The new Health Minister spoke to reporters after he was inaugurated and explained that he hoped to change fear into respect when it came to the pandemic.

He added that he did not believe it would be necessary to toughen up the lockdown measures at the moment, but he hoped people would respect the rules in place.

"I can't tell you right after taking up the post what I will do. But I can promise you that the decision-making will be based on data that will be shared and must be comprehensible to everyone," Blatny said.

 Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic will be the main task for Blatny, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said when inaugurating Blatny.

"Naturally, the main topic the minister must deal with is the pandemic of COVID-19," Babis said during Blatny's inauguration.

By Friday, officials should be able to tell whether some of the first measures put into place are working.

"Yesterday (on Wednesday), there was a holiday and in all, the models do not say quite clearly whether there is already a slowdown," Babis said.

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During the press conference, the prime minister asked once again for Czechs to respect the government measures and to avoid useless contacts with other people. Unlike during the first wave, Babis said, many people continue to use public transit and work from the office.

Blatny, speaking after the inauguration, said one of his first orders of business was addressing the reopening of schools with Education Minister Robert Plaga (for ANO).

"Based on the available data, it is necessary to find out whether the closure of the schools should remain or be changed," Blatny said.

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Blatny said he considered the offer to be the minister of health a challenge, and something where he could help the country.

"As a non-party member, I have not taken much interest in the political part of the question," Blatny said.

Blatny said he wanted to keep using the work of his predecessor Roman Prymula, as he was an expert on the matter. He said they would meet and agree on their cooperation.