This morning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Petříček, informed the Italian Ambassador Nisio that the Czech Republic will send 110,000 masks for the Chinese community in Italy will be delivered as soon as possible.
The load will depart within 48 hours.
According to Petříček, the police will continue the investigation. “We need to clarify how it is possible that that load appeared illegally in the warehouse in Lovosice,” said the Foreign Minister.
“Today (ie on Sunday) I am sending a letter to the Italian Foreign Minister explaining the whole situation. We won’t send the seized equipment but similar gear, which corresponds exactly to the one that was intended for Italy,” added Petříček.
“Italy will not lose anything”, said Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček.
The Czech government in close coordination with the Italian Embassy in Prague has decided to immediately send the load destined to Italy without waiting for the conclusion of the police investigation still in progress.
The complexity of the case would require a few more days but the situation in Italy does not allow for waiting.
On March 17, the Ministry of the Interior and the Usti nad Labem Region detained a batch of imported masks and respirators from a warehouse in the region.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the seizure included a separate shipment of 101,600 masks and respirators, which was a donation from the Red Cross of Qingtian City of China’s Zhejiang province to Chinese expatriates in Italy, the statement noted.
On Saturday shortly before midnight, a large Ukrainian aircraft An-124 Ruslan landed at Pardubice Airport with five million masks, two million respirators, 120,000 protective suits, 80,000 protective goggles, and tens of thousands of coronavirus tests from Shenzhen, China.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic reached 1047 on Sunday morning, after an increase of 158 cases on Saturday.