Source: Rome – France Press
Italian media reported that the Czech authorities seized Chinese protective masks sent to Italy hospitals, But Prague asserts that it seized the masks as part of an operation against smugglers, and that Rome would not be affected by the problem.
Europe, which has become the epicenter of the outbreak of the Corona virus, is facing a shortage of masks. The problem is great in Italy That pays the most, with 5,000 deaths.
But the Czech Republic is also directing the problem itself, and has stressed control over the export and distribution of these materials.
On Saturday evening, the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” published an article that narrated “how the Czech Republic confiscated thousands of protective masks that China sent to Italy.”
Citing information revealed by a “brave Czech researcher” named Lucas Lev Cervica, the newspaper said that the Czech authorities, under cover of an operation against smugglers, retained the masks they seized and then distributed them to Czech hospitals.
On March 17, the Czech police seized 680,000 protective masks and respirators in a private company warehouse in the city of Lovosici in northern Prague. The operation was described as a major success in combating smuggling of this commodity.
In his Friday tweet, Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacik wrote: “Unfortunately, after advanced investigations, a small portion of these confiscated materials turned out to be a Chinese gift to Italy.”
And the Czech media said that this Chinese gift represents a little more than 100 thousand masks, while local authorities announced that the number of masks that they confiscated amounted to 380 thousand and were distributed to hospitals.
“We are now trying to understand what a Chinese gift to Italy was doing in Lovosci. We are holding consultations with the two countries (China and Italy). I assure that Italy will not suffer any loss,” he said.
In turn, the Czech Foreign Minister, Thomas Petricek, confirmed in statements carried by the Czech News Agency “Chi Ti Ka” that “the Czechs did not intentionally detain this equipment.”
He confirmed his determination to know “how these materials illegally reached the warehouse.”
The Czech foreign minister said that he will explain the situation to his Italian counterpart and the masks will be transferred to Italy early next week.
On Sunday, an Italian official did not comment on the article of the Italian newspaper.
Millions of gags from China to the Czech Republic
In a related context, a cargo plane carrying tens of tons of landed Medical equipment Sent from China at the Czech airport on Saturday night.
The Czech Ministry of Defense said that the plane was loaded with millions of simple protective masks and other medical equipment coming from the city of Shenzhen and landed in the city of Parubis within the framework of the NATO program “Salles” (Strategic Airlift International Solution).
“We are waiting for two more flights this month,” the defense minister, Lopumer Meitarnar, said, “the first one is expected to arrive on Tuesday and the second at the end of March.”
And the Czech media reported that the plane transferred five million simple masks and two million masks equipped with purification equipment and other medical materials, pointing out that another plane from “China Eastern” landed in Prague after an hour and transferred seven million simple masks.
A plane arriving from China carrying more than a million protective mask landed in Prague on Friday.
The Czech Republic, which has 1047 persons infected with the new coronavirus, including six patients who have recovered and no deaths on Sunday, suffers from a lack of masks and disinfection materials.
This shortfall prompted thousands of Czechs to make masks in their homes after the authorities prevented them from leaving their homes without covering their nose and mouth.