End of the expert group for Covid-19

The Ministry of Health has terminated its cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Group on Epidemic Situations (MeSES).

According to the Ministry, the reason for the termination of cooperation is the currently favourable development of the epidemic and the accelerating pace of vaccination. The group's agenda will be handled by a clinical group that will operate within the Ministry, led by Deputy Minister of Health Martina Vašáková. It will also include representatives of the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ), the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) or health insurance companies.

MeSES was led by the epidemiologist Petr Smejkal and included also experts in economics, sociology and law. It provided recommendations to the government to fight the epidemic and was established mid-March in reaction to the rapid spread of the British coronavirus mutation in the country. Its members were surprised by the Ministry's decision and are considering continuing their work, which has been unpaid, without the Ministry.

This week, Smejkal's interview for the Novinky.cz server attracted some attention - he claimed that the state had not successfully managed the critical part of the epidemic and that he was quite bitter about politicians and their approach to dealing with the pandemic. MeSES has also been previously criticised for not having any responsibility for the legal, economic and political consequences of its recommendations for managing the epidemic.