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Czech health minister breaks virus rules, asked to resign

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Hamacek is chairman of the leftwing Social Democrats, the party in government with the ruling populist ANO movement that had nominated Prymula.

The Czech daily tabloid, Blesk, claims Prymula also failed to wear a mask while in his chauffeur-driven ministerial auto.

Bars and restaurants in the Czech Republic are closed under current regulations created to at least slow the spread of the virus.

However, at another news conference, Prymula told reporters that he had no intention of stepping down and denied violating any measures as he claimed he had not met anyone at the restaurant. "I am also sorry for having de facto ruled out the possibility of this happening because I could not imagine that this would happen", Babis said.

Faltynek apologized for the meeting and said he asked Prymula to meet to discuss a special parliamentary ysession that is set to approve a plan for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military medical personnel to come to the Czech Republic to help their local colleagues.

The scandal comes as the Czech government struggles to slow Europe's fastest growth in coronavirus cases that has raised fears already strained hospitals could buckle under the pressure.

Prymula, an epidemiologist, afterwards assumed another article, as a government healthcare envoy.

Prymula became health minister on September 12, and he imposed a series of tough regulations in attempts to slow the steep rise of infections. Schools, theaters, cinemas, zoos and many other locations are also closed and professional sports competitions have been stopped.

Only hours prior to the episode in the restaurant, both Prymula and Babis declared the country was coming back into a lockdown such as from the spring with brand new constraints that restrict motion, near many shops and services and restrict public parties to 2.

Calling the current situation dramatic, he recently tweeted in one of his videos: "I'd like to call on all of you to stay, if possible, at home".

The health ministry says the day-to-day increase of confirmed cases in the hard-hit country reached 15,252 on Friday. The country has had 223,065 cases, about a third of them in the last seven days while 1,845 people have died.

There are now 4,417 COVID-19 patients in Czech hospitals, with 657 in serious condition.

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