Coronavirus: New Minister of Health Jan Blatný Says Tough Lockdown ‘Avoidable’

“The current data on the epidemiological situation shows that the Czech Republic can avoid a tough lockdown, similar to the one in Israel”, said the new Minister of Health Jan Blatný in an interview with Právo.

“The measures introduced are, in my opinion, significant. If the situation cannot be reversed by anything other than tougher measures, I will support them. However, the numbers I see now suggest that a hard lockdown will not be necessary,” Blatný added.

When asked to comment on the measures introduced in the last weeks, Blatný replied that he did not want to criticize the actions of his predecessors

“To understand whether the new measures are working or not, we always have to wait two weeks. I will insist that we need to have enough time and information before tightening or loosening the measures. Too frequent changes in this situation are wrong and unsafe,” the minister added.

Read: Austria Requires Negative COVID-19 Test Upon Arrival From the Czech Republic

Jan Blatný replaces Roman Prymula, who was photographed leaving a restaurant that should have been closed under his own COVID-19 restrictions.

Prymula denied any wrongdoing, saying he went through the restaurant to a private space for a meeting, but offered his resignation to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

The new health minister was formerly the deputy director of the University Hospital in Brno but has no political experience.

In a press release, the Czech Prime Minister thanked his former health chief and said Blatný’s main task is to “stabilise the current epidemiological situation and ensure the capacity of hospitals”.

Read: Restaurants in the Czech Republic Face Revenue Drop of Up to 70%

“The main task is to protect people over 65 and the sick in nursing homes, social care, etc,” said Babiš, who also stated that the government had ordered two million antigen tests.

President Miloš Zeman thanked Blatný for his courage, telling the new minister at the ceremony that he was “walking from the park into the jungle.”

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