Italian media has reported that Czech police seized China’s humanitarian aid, including medical face masks, meant to be shipped to Italy.
After the report, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček confirmed the Czech Republic would send the 100,000 face masks destined for Italy to the hard-hit country next week.
In the Czech town of Lovosice, police seized 680,000 masks and 28,000 respirators from a Czech company last week.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said that the equipment was to be delivered to Czech healthcare facilities, but the company raised the price disproportionately.
By confiscating the medical supplies, the regional authorities wanted to prevent the company from exporting it outside the Czech Republic.
However, the Italian daily La Repubblica claims that the seized material was part of the humanitarian aid sent to Italy from China. It reports on “an extremely serious case of lack of solidarity within the European Union”.
Czech analyst Lukáš Lev Červinka, an adviser to one of the MPs for the Pirates, confirms the origin of the supplies. On Friday, he posted several photos from Lovosice on Facebook showing that the confiscated boxes were marked with Chinese and Italian flags.
Červinka then talked to the Italian media, confirming that there were doubts about the origin and destination of the confiscated supplies.
In reaction, Hamáček said that the Czech police were investigating why the Chinese gift for Italy was in Lovosice and assured the Italians that they would receive what belongs to them.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček added that it is necessary to investigate the case first. The Czech Republic will then negotiate a method of transport with Italy, which should receive approximately 100,000 donated face masks next week.
Title image: Medics and paramedics from Cuba pose upon arrival at the Malpensa airport of Milan, Italy, Sunday, March 22, 2020. 53 doctors and paramedics from Cuba arrived in Milan to help with coronavirus treatment in Crema. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)