Czech Republic's Health Minister Petr Arenberger Quits After Just Six Weeks

Czech Republic Health Minister Petr Arenberger stepped down after just six weeks in office.

A director of University Hospital Vinohrady in Prague, Arenberger was sworn in on April 7 and became the country's fourth health minister since the start of the pandemic last year.

He had been under scrutiny over alleged tax irregularities and reports that he was renting one of his undeclared properties to the university hospital. The pressure put on him and his family was "the main reason for the resignation," Prime Minister Andrej Babis said, as reported by the Associated Press.

"I do not think that it is necessary for my family, friends, colleagues and patients to be exposed to this escalating unpleasant pressure during my work for public health," Arenberger said. "I am convinced that the change at this stage will not affect the further successful solving of the pandemic or the strategic steps of the ministry."

Czech Health Minister
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis arrives for the second day of the EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels on May 25, 2021. European Union leaders take part in a two day in-person meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, climate and Russia. The Czech Republic health minister has resigned after just six weeks amid scandal involving alleged tax irregularities. OLIVIER HOSLET/AFP via Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Babis said he planned to reappoint Adam Vojtech, who was health minister when the pandemic hit the country in March 2020, to the post.

Arenberger took office after his predecessor, Jan Blatny, was fired over his handling of the pandemic, including imposing strict conditions for the use of experimental drugs to treat COVID-19 patients and his refusal to accept Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which hasn't been approved the European Union's drug regulator.

Blatny had taken over the job on Oct. 29 to replace epidemiologist Roman Prymula, who was dismissed after he was photographed visiting a restaurant that should have been closed as part of the country's restrictive measures.

Prymula had replaced Vojtech in the post on Sept. 21, to enable a different approach to the pandemic amid surging infections.

Infections are falling in the Czech Republic. The day-to-day tally of new cases dropped to 695 on Monday, down from almost 17,000 in early March.

The nation of 10.7 million has registered almost 1.7 million confirmed cases, with more than 30,000 deaths.

Czech Republic Health Minister Resigns
Member of Czech Parliament Adam Vojtech poses in Parliament building in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. Czech Health Minister Petr Arenberger will resign and he will be replaced with former minister Adam Vojtech who stepped down last year, Prime Minister Andrej Babis has told journalists on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Vit Simanek/CTK via AP