Three difficult weeks are ahead, says Czech Health Minister

Roman Prymula gave a televised speech to the Czech public yesterday evening


Written by ČTK
Published on 14.10.2020 09:03 (updated on 14.10.2020)

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) - Projections for the development of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic show that the number of hospitalizations, serious cases and deaths will increase over the following weeks, Health Minister Roman Prymula said in a televised address.

"And this is nearly certain. Three very difficult and gloomy weeks are ahead of us," he said.

Prymula apologized for not having been more resolute in summer and for not insisting on regulations against the second wave of the epidemic. He was the government healthcare research commissioner then. He has been health minister for three weeks now.

Prymula said there is no choice between economy and health. "The economy is running only when the epidemic is under control, when hospitals are not full and people do not stay at home out of fear," he said.

He said the primary aim for the country is to avoid a lockdown.

After the epidemic outbreak in the spring, the government imposed a lockdown on the country, and shops, services and factories had to be closed.


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Prymula said the fight with the epidemic was long-term, and a clear and thoroughly considered strategy needed to be set in the beginning to handle the situation.

He apologized for meddling in people’s lives, but said a rapid reaction was necessary otherwise the virus would get out of control. He said he could understand that there was frustration and disappointment in society. He called on people to trust the regulations and observe them.

"If the situation allows for it, we will immediately lift regulations that are no longer necessary," Prymula said.

He said the only clearly set date is November 2, when students of lower grades of elementary schools will move from distance teaching to regular school attendance again.


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But Education Minister Robert Plaga (ANO) told Czech Television that children need not start going to school again on November 2.

Plaga said the aim of the new restrictions is to lower the reproduction number, which is 1.5 now. If the reproduction number does not drop, a lockdown will have to be imposed in the Czech Republic, he said.

"This would be a huge disaster and we would not discuss the return of children to schools at all," Plaga told Czech Television.

Prymula recalled that the situation in the Czech Republic is sharply worsening and that the rise in new COVID-19 cases is one of the worst in the world.

No epidemic can be handled without economic and social losses, he said.

Prymula’s speech was originally to be broadcast on Monday evening, but because of government negotiations about the new regulations lasted longer than expected and ended at night, it was televised Tuesday. Prymula spoke in the hall of the Health Ministry building, and directors of Czech teaching hospitals stood on the stairs behind him.