Czech Republic sends masks to Italy after Chinese cargo seized by mistake


The Czech Republic is because of ship 110,000 masks to Italy after a Chinese cargo of medical tools heading to Italy to assist deal with the coronavirus outbreak was confiscated by Czech authorities final week.

According to an announcement by the Italian Embassy in Prague, following communication between Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio, the Czech authorities will return the seized masks that have been initially destined to arrive in Italy, with out ready for the investigation course of on the matter to be accomplished.

‘‘The case is very complicated and concerns several countries. The investigation would thus take many days, but the situation in Europe and Italy can’t tolerate postponements,’’ mentioned Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Ales Chmelar.

Last week, the Czech authorities in an anti-trafficking operation confiscated round 680,000 masks and respirators from a warehouse of a non-public firm within the city of Lovosice. Subsequently, nevertheless, it was revealed that plenty of the seized medical tools was destined for Italy, as an help from the Chinese Red Cross to struggle the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, the Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, mentioned in an announcement on Twitter that ‘‘unfortunately the following investigation revealed a small part of these were a Chinese present to Italy.’’

‘‘We are trying to understand what a Chinese donation for Italy was doing in Lovosice,’’ Hamacek added.

Italy, the worst-hit nation in Europe by the COVID-19 pandemic, obtained the earlier week its first batch of specialist medical doctors and medical tools from China.