A special military plane loaded with 150,000 rapid coronavirus testers from China landed in Prague today as the Czech government scrambles to supply the country with much-needed medical supplies.
The government also announced plans to require every citizen to wear medical face masks, according to Interior Minister Jan Hamáček.
Yesterday, the police confiscated hundreds of thousands of face masks and respirators from a private company that wanted to export the supplies at high prices.
In the coming days, the Czech Republic wants to transport more medical supplies from China, especially respirators, medical face masks, and medical-use protective suits.
On Sunday, 30 million masks from China should be delivered to the Czech Republic and redistributed among people. Wearing face masks will then become mandatory for everyone.
At the Prague Airport today, Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, and Health Minister Adam Vojtěch waited for the arrival of the special military plane holding the test kits.
Two police helicopters then transported the rapid coronavirus testers to medical staff.
“At the same time, it will transport protective equipment to police officers and firefighters in Moravia. We have already started supplying other regions by road from early morning,” police authorities said while explaining the distribution plan for the Moravia region in the east part of the country.
The task of the special military plane was to bring tests from China that are designed to quickly confirm coronavirus in people suspected of being infected. The test results should be available within half an hour. The testers detect coronavirus not by a smear but from a blood sample.
At a time of medical material shortage, Czech police have also located 680,000 respirators and other protective equipment in the industrial zone in Lovosice in the northwest of the country.
According to Interior Minister Hamáček, the company was originally ready to deliver the equipment to Czech healthcare facilities, but, at the last minute, tried to raise the price of the material. Consequently, there was a risk that the company would try to export these medical supplies outside the Czech Republic.
The material was, therefore, confiscated by the regional authorities, which will use it in the local facilities as well as send part of the supplies to Prague.