Czech Republic appoints new health minister

PRAGUE, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Czech President Milos Zeman on Thursday appointed Jan Blatny as the country's new minister of health, according to the president's office.

His appointment comes less than a week after former health minister Roman Prymula was photographed leaving a restaurant that should have been closed under COVID-19-related restrictions. Prymula was later asked to resign by the prime minister.

After taking the position, Blatny said his main task was to change the perception of the whole pandemic.

"Let's change the perception of fear into respect. Fear paralyzes us," said Blatny, urging people to respect the measures already in place aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

"I want to promise you that the ministry's further decisions will be based on data that will be shared, understood and discussed by experts across the political spectrum," he added.

Blatny, who previously served as deputy head of University Hospital Brno's pediatric department, specializes in paediatric haematology.

The Czech Republic has witnessed rapid spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks. It has registered 297,013 confirmed cases so far, including 174,965 active ones.

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