The Czech Ministry of Finance has decided to regulate respirator and face mask prices, in effect from March 4, to prevent panic-driven profiteering, the ministry announced in its press release published on March 4. The Ministry of Health ordered a ban on their export.
According to Head of Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Finance Michal Zurovec, in the case of respirators manufactured in the EU, the maximum price for final consumers was set at CZK175 (€6.8), excluding VAT, for those made outside the EU at CZK350 (€13.7), excluding VAT.
“In order to make these protective masks available where they are most needed and to prevent their price to increase uncontrollably, we decided to set a price cap in agreement with the Minister of Health,” said the Finance Minister Alena Schillerova, quoted by the office.
On March 4, the Ministry of Health announced it was prohibiting the export of all FFP3-class respirators outside the Czech Republic and their sale to all but medical and social facilities, public health protection bodies, integrated rescue services and other state administration bodies.
“Medical assistance and ensuring the functioning of the healthcare system is an absolute priority ... We must be able to provide medical assistance to our citizens and treat infected people,” said the minister Adama Vojtech (ANO).
“If medical staff become infected, the health system will fail and we will not be able to stop the virus and protect our citizens. Therefore, we need to provide a sufficient number of respirators primarily to medical professionals and then, of course, to the Integrated Rescue System,” he added, as quoted by his office.
On March 5, the Ministry of Health has already confirmed twelve cases of people infected with the coronavirus in the country. As of today, direct flights to northern Italy and South Korea have been banned by the ministry for the next 14 days. The Czech Airlines, Ryanair and easyJet have cancelled up to 70 flights between the Czech Republic and five northern Italian cities.