Disinfectant, face masks and respirators via iStock / coldsnowstorm

The Czech Republic has enough equipment for a second COVID-19 wave, says Interior Minister

"We would cope with another six weeks of infection outburst without problems," says Jan Hamáček

Pardubice, East Bohemia, July 9 (CTK) – The last supply of anti-coronavirus protective equipment from China reached the Czech police depository in Opočínek near Pardubice today, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said, adding that Czechia has enough equipment now in case of a second pandemic wave.

Czechia has equipment for six weeks, about the same period for which the government-declared national state of emergency lasted over the coronavirus outbreak this spring, Hamáček (Social Democrats, CSSD) told reporters.

He said the largest portion of the available supplies will go to Karviná, the center of the eponymous north Moravian district which is the biggest coronavirus epicenter now.

“Of course, we do not wish a second wave of the coronavirus, but if it came, we are prepared. We would cope with another six weeks [of infection outburst] without problems,” Hamáček said on behalf of the government.

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in early March, Czechia was short of protective means. The Interior Ministry secured air supplies of equipment from China as of March 20. The cabinet financed the purchases mainly from the state budget reserve, being forced to raise it considerably.

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China provided a number supplies of equipment to the Czech Republic through a series of flights, and most recently also by three trains, the last of which arrived in Pardubice today.

There were 650 tonnes of material on the train, which 18 lorries took to the nearby Opočínek depository, where there are over 1,000 tonnes of protective medical equipment now. A part of it has been transported to Karviná today.

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There are 65.9 million face masks in the depository, 10.3 million respirators, 552,000 protective suits, 595,000 protective goggles, 298,000 face shields, almost ten million pairs of gloves and 11 million shoe covers.

“Thanks to having such stockpile, we could meet the request of the Karviná mayor who has asked us for help,” Hamáček said, adding that Karviná will receive 85,000 face masks, 5,000 respirators and 80,000 single-use pairs of gloves.

The remaining supplies will stay in the depository and will be distributed as needed in possible urgent situations.

Since the infection outbreak in Czechia, the Interior Ministry has bought equipment worth 4.6 billion crowns, including 300 million crowns worth of equipment from domestic suppliers. The purchases comprised a total of 137.7 million face masks, 19 million FFP2 and 200,000 FFP3 respirators, plus protective shields, suits and shoe covers.

“All our contracts with China have been completed. We still have one container in China, which is heading for Czechia. There are no new contracts signed with China. In our further purchases we will focus on Czech suppliers, but there are certain commodities, mainly protective suits, which the domestic producers are unable to provide,” Hamáček said.

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