COVID-19 Updates

Czech Republic to sends protective suits to Italy, Spain – but not doctors

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The Czech Republic will offer supplies of 10,000 protective suits for medical personnel to Italy and Spain today, Deputy PM and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek tweeted today and Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (both Social Democrats, CSSD) confirmed later.

On the contrary, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) rejected the possibility of sending Czech military doctors to Italy. They are needed at home, he said.

Petricek mentioned on Wednesday that he would like the government to debate a possible aid to the worst coronavirus- afflicted European countries.

Hamacek said the Czech Republic had 250,000 protective suits and others were to be delivered. “We can afford this and they (Italy, Spain) desperately need them,” he noted.

Petricek said he had already talked to the Spanish and Italians ambassadors to the Czech Republic about the way of delivering the gift.

Petricek indicated on Wednesday that the aid might be in the form of sending medical teams as well. However, such a decision would be up to the health and defense ministers, he noted.

Metnar ruled this out today. He tweeted in reaction that military doctors cannot leave for Italy as they must help fight the coronavirus outbreak in the Czech Republic.

Germany, for instance, has already offered aid to Italy and Spain.

European countries must show solidarity in this situation, Petricek said.

The Czech Republic has faced a shortage of medical protective devices, primarily face masks and respirators, for several weeks. The government has spent three billion crowns on the purchase of health equipment abroad to battle the coronavirus outbreak so far.

Interior Ministry spokesman Adam Rozler said on Wednesday that the ministry had ordered more than 70 million face masks, ten million respirators, 250,000 protective suits and more than five million pairs of gloves. As of Wednesday, 14 million face masks, almost four million respirators, 120,000 protective suits and 250,000 pairs of gloves were brought to Czechia.

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