Prymula's time in the government is over. Babiš called for his resignation, as well as for Faltýnek's
Go to work, go shopping, then straight home and almost always have a mask on your face? In recent days, the Minister of Health Roman Prymula has been urging precisely for these steps. But then he himself was photographed upon leaving one of Prague's restaurants, on top of which he didn't have his face covered. The opposition and the Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček, have therefore been calling for his resignation since the morning. At a press conference that had just taken place, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that if Roman Prymula didn't resign himself, he would recall him on his own. The same goes for Jaroslav Faltýnek, who also attended the meeting. Prymula later added that he doesn't intend to resign on his own.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš asked Minister Prymula to resign. Faltýnek should also abandon his post as the 1st Vice-Chairman of the ANO movement.
"What happened today is an absolute disaster. And it's an absolute shock to me, and I don't understand that, since we're asking people to follow the rules to wear masks, even in the car, we complicate people's lives by closing restaurants, shops, we restrict their movement, so we must lead by example,"
Babiš explained. He believes that such a mistake cannot be excused. According to him, Prymula was an important figure during the first wave of the pandemic and Babiš is very sorry for what happened. However, he sees no other solution in terms of trust in the government.
It is said that Prymula found out about the meeting last minute, the director of the Ostrava hospital was supposed to be there as well and allegedly they were discussing the area testing. However, according to Babiš, this doesn't change the fact that Prymula should lead by example. According to him, the mistake came at the worst time, but he says no one is irreplaceable. In the afternoon, he will resolve the situation in Lány with President Miloš Zeman and begin to look for a replacement. Ideally, he would like Prymula's successor to be at Monday's government meeting.
Caught in a restaurant and without a mask
Just a few days after the tightening of measures and requests for people to stay at home, the Minister of Health was photographed in a restaurant after closing hours in Vyšehrad, Prague. There were two other people there at that time, including the chairman of the ANO deputies, Jaroslav Faltýnek. The minister isn't wearing a mask on the photos taken in front of the restaurant - even though he is standing next to his driver, who is wearing it.
He himself said about the whole case, that if the public so wishes, he has no problem resigning. However, he only considers it a mistake that he didn't have a mask on while getting into the car.
"Based on the pictures that appeared today, it looks like I violated something. Sincerely, I'm saying I didn't violate anything."
said Prymula. He, therefore, doesn't intend to resign. According to him, he was at the ministry until half past nine, then he received Faltýnek's invitation to a meeting and left to attend it. At the time, he still had a mask. At Vyšehrad, he passed through the restaurant to the private premises of the Vyšehrad Chapter. However, they washed their hands from this statement.
"Nothing was violated in this sense,"
adds Prymula. After the meeting, he was returning through outdoor area. According to him, he was there alone. Then he came to the car, got into it, and put on his mask. Thus, he thinks he didn't violate anything.
"The only thing, which was technically within seconds, was that my employee was there."
The opposition is calling for resignation since the morning
Jan Hamáček, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the ČSSD, has already commented on the case, according to him such behavior is a mockery of citizens and contempt for thousands of medical workers in the front lines. According to him, Prymula should therefore resign.
"Unfortunately, Minister Prymula has lost all credibility as the leading face of the fight against the pandemic. As difficult as it is, as he's an unquestionable expert and the main author of the anti-covid strategy, he cannot continue as the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic,"
Hamáček explained. The opposition thinks the same. According to the ODS chairman Petr Fiala, they literally "preach water and drink wine".
"Does anyone still really think that this government can lead us through the pandemic? Minister Prymula and the vice-president of the ANO movement Faltýnek have laughed in the faces of all the people who are afraid for their health, the lives of their loved ones and their bare existence,"
said Fiala. According to SPD chief Tomio Okamura, Prymula should also resign. According to the MP for Pirates Olga Richter, similar escapades only undermine the public trust.
"You can't preach water while drinking your coffee in a restaurant you've had closed. May the next Minister of Health and the next right-hand Prime Minister comply with their own regulations,"
outlined Richter. A similar opinion is held by the chairman of the Pirates, Ivan Bartoš, according to whom the government should lead by example.
The municipality will also clamp down on the restaurant
However, the sanction will not forget the restaurant in question. The City of Prague will conduct administrative proceedings with legal and natural persons for violation of government regulations. The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, informed about it: