PM Andrej Babis ousts third well being minister in COVID-hit Czech Republic

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By Associated Press

PRAGUE: Czech Prime Minster Andrej Babis fired his well being minister on Wednesday, the third well being minister who has been ousted through the pandemic in considered one of Europe’s hardest-hit international locations. Jan Blatny was changed by Petr Arenberger, the director of Prague’s University Hospital Vinohrady, who was sworn in by President Milos Zeman.

The transfer opens the way in which for a potential use of Russian and Chinese vaccines, which haven’t been authorised by the European Union’s drug regulator. Babis repeatedly criticized Blatny over his dealing with of the pandemic, together with imposing strict circumstances for using experimental medication to deal with COVID-19 sufferers.

Blatny was additionally below hearth from Zeman, an ally of Babis who is thought for his pro-Russian and pro-Chinese views. Zeman requested the prime minister final month to exchange Blatny over his refusal to permit using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as a result of it has not been authorised by the European Medicines Agency.

Zeman mentioned that he approached his Russian, Chinese and Israeli counterparts with a request for assist with the vaccines and acquired a optimistic response from all of them.

Israel donated 5,000 Moderna vaccines to the Czech Republic in February. “Unfortunately, your predecessor has blocked the process,” Zeman informed Arenberger at a ceremony, blaming Blatney for many who have died.

Blatny dismissed such criticism. He mentioned he allowed use of solely authorised vaccines to guarantee individuals “they are safe, tested and really work. And that’s the same with the drugs against COVID”. “My decisions were always based on scientific data and analysis,” Blatny mentioned.

Babis beforehand mentioned Sputnik V is perhaps an choice for the nation as a consequence of a gradual rollout of the authorised vaccines from the EU.

Blatny took workplace on Oct 29 to exchange epidemiologist Roman Prymula, who was dismissed after he was photographed visiting a restaurant that ought to have been closed as a part of the nation’s restrictive measures.

Blatny, a specialist in pediatric hematology, was deputy director of the University Hospital within the second largest Czech metropolis of Brno earlier than he grew to become well being minister. Prymula had changed his predecessor, Adam Vojtech, within the put up on September 21 to allow a distinct method to the pandemic amid surging infections.

The newest firing comes as coronavirus infections within the Czech Republic have been on a decline, with new each day instances at 5,522 on Tuesday, the bottom quantity on a weekday since December 14. The nation of 10.7 million has reported 1.65 million confirmed instances with 27,329 deaths.

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