Roman Prymula has not been Minister of Health for more than a week. He was deprived of his government post by a nightly meeting in a restaurant, although catering establishments must be closed. However, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš insists that the ex-minister from another official position continue to participate in resolving the coronavirus crisis. Prymula, meanwhile, has resumed his business, wanting to give advice.
Roman Prymula’s mandate as Minister of Health was the shortest in the history of the Czech Republic, lasting 39 days. He was removed from office by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš after visiting Prymula on a restaurant in Vyšehrad, Prague, on the evening of October 21. According to the information confirmed so far, he met there with the head of ANO deputies Jaroslav Faltýnek and the director of the Ostrava University Hospital Jiří Havrlant. The meeting took place at a time when the business was to be closed.
Prior to his appeal, Prymula admitted that he would like to continue to help the government deal with the epidemic. However, he ruled out a specific position directly related to the cabinet. “My opinion is that I would like to help as an independent person, as an expert. I think I am able to offer this. But I do not want to go into any position,” he said in the penultimate issue of Václav Moravec’s Questions on Czech Television.
He also mentioned at the time that he was part of an international group of epidemiologists dedicated to the ongoing pandemic. Babiš also talked about this when he was with Prymula as the ending minister to inspect the emerging field hospital in Letňany. “I assume that he will cooperate as an expert epidemiologist, that is, within an international expert group,” the prime minister said.
I have mass media calm
Whether and how Prymula could engage at home is still open. According to Aktuálně.cz, Babiš and the recent Minister of Health, Jan Blatný, repeatedly discussed this topic with him during the week; no agreement has been reached yet. The Prime Minister is primarily responsible for Prymul’s services. It is not clear how he would conceive of working with him specifically. Babiš did not answer Aktuálně.cz.
The direction of Prymula’s possible involvement could have been indicated last Friday. On that day, the Government Council for Health Risks, which is currently the main advisory body to the cabinet in managing the epidemic, met via videoconference. According to Aktuálně.cz, Prymula also took part in it, although according to the founding charter of the council, he is not a member.
The former Minister of Health does not want to comment on the topic. The reason is that he has ordered public silence. “Until November 15, I have a mass media calm, until then I do not express myself to anyone or anything,” he told Aktuálně.cz. “The mass media treated me very correctly, so I took a break from them,” he explained his reasons with irony in his voice and hung up. He no longer responded to SMS questions.
But he seems to have planned a private professional future. From the public register Aktuálně.cz found out that on November 2 he renewed his trade. He founded it on June 17 this year, shortly after leaving the Ministry of Health. After mutual tension with the then head of the department, Adam Vojtěch, he ended up as a deputy. The official reason was his lack of security clearance.
Consulting and training
He mentioned as a trade, among other things, the production of medical devices and the mediation of trade and services; However, according to current data, he will no longer move in the field of aids production, he intends to provide advice, research in natural sciences and organizing training.
Before Prymul took over the Ministry of Health after Vojtěch’s resignation, he worked for less than three months as the government’s representative for science and research in health care. Prime Minister Babiš had the position established precisely because of Prymul, so that he could continue to help with the epidemic. Ondřej Slabý, professor of biochemistry, took over the post of agent after Prymul.
“As the government’s commissioner for science and research in health care, I will build on my predecessor, Professor Roman Prymula, and support research activities in this area. I will look for ways to secure funding for them,” Slabý explained in an interview with Aktuálně.cz.