Import of five million face masks from China falls through after Czech firm is scammed

A contract for the supply of five million face masks from China has been breached, as the Czech firm that paid for the supply in China has been cheated


Written by ČTK Published on 15.03.2020 13:33:53 (updated on 15.03.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, March 15 (CTK) – The contract for the supply of five million face masks, which were to reach Czechia on Monday, has been breached as the Czech firm, which ordered and paid the supply in China, has been cheated, PM Andrej Babis said today, commenting on his cabinet’s fight against new coronavirus.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) previously said the face masks would be supplied mainly to help protect potential risk patients, in social care facilities, for example. They would be distributed to the staff and also to social street workers and those providing home care, Vojtech said.

Citing Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula, Babis (ANO) said that another contract has been agreed upon in China, based on which 10 million face masks are to be supplied step by step, the first supply being expected in Czechia next Saturday at the latest.

Later today, Deputy PM Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) tweeted that his ministry has signed contracts for the supplies of 1.1 million respirators and five million face masks from China and negotiations are underway for the supplies to reach Czechia by Wednesday.

The ministry has also ordered one million coronavirus testers, the first 150,000 of which are to be brought in by the government plane that is to depart for China on Monday.

On Saturday, the state earmarked 10,000 respirators from the national material reserve and is starting to distribute them today, Babis said.

Another 52,000 respirators of the FFP2 and FFP3 type are to be available on Monday, he said.

The Home Credit company, a part of the richest Czech Petr Kellner’s PPF group brought 20,000 face masks from the USA to Czechia, donating them to the state.

In a press release earlier today, PPF said it will give further 120 tonnes of protective medical equipment worth 100 million crowns, bought in Spain and China, to the Czech state. The equipment comprises 1.8 million surgical face masks, 1.7 million N95 respirators and tester sets. The equipment will be prepared for transfer to Czechia on Monday evening, the transfer will be secured by the government, PPF wrote.

Babis said that the Czech state previously ordered a supply of 190,000 respirators from abroad, but a European country, which he did not specify, has banned their export in the meantime.

The Czech government is dispatching two planes to China to bring 100,000 rapid testers to the Czech Republic, Babis recalled.

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