Ministry of Health bans the export of respirators and regulates their sale
The Ministry of Health has adopted an emergency measure in relation to the adverse development of the epidemiological situation relating to the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus in Europe. Effective as of Wednesday, 4 March 2020 until further notice, the ministry has banned the export of all class FFP3 respirators from the Czech Republic and their sale to anyone other than healthcare and social service facilities, public health protection authorities, units of the integrated rescue system and other state administration authorities.
The objective is to ensure sufficient respirators for doctors in hospitals, doctors in the field, nurses, pharmacists, hygienists, the emergency services, the police, the fire brigade and the army, and to thus restrict the spread of this disease and maintain the problem-free operation of critical state services if an epidemic breaks out. “In the event of a coronavirus epidemic in our country, our absolute priority is to provide medical aid and to ensure the functioning of the healthcare system. We must be able to provide our citizens with medical aid and to treat the infected. If healthcare workers were to become infected, the healthcare system would fail and we would be unable to stop the disease and thus protect our citizens. This is why we must ensure a sufficient number of respirators, primarily for our healthcare workers and then of course also for the units of the integrated rescue system,” said Adam Vojtěch, Minister of Health, explaining the situation.
This emergency measure is a reaction to the first cases of this disease in the Czech Republic and the gradual spread of this disease in neighbouring or nearby countries such as Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Croatia. In view of the ongoing flu epidemic and, as the course of the illness caused by the coronavirus is not usually serious, including the initial symptom-free period, it can be expected that the number of people infected in the Czech Republic will increase. “Unfortunately there is no way to easily recognise a patient with the coronavirus. This is why it is absolutely essential that healthcare workers in particular have enough respirators available, as they prevent the transfer of this disease and allow them to provide the necessary healthcare services. Healthcare workers are on the front line and the first to come into contact with the disease,” added the minister.
The measure focuses on all entities, in particular manufacturers, importers and distributors of the defined personal protective equipment within the territory of the Czech Republic.