Auditors report finds state was ill-prepared for pandemic
The Czech Supreme Audit Office published a report on Monday saying the Czech health ministry had made numerous mistakes while tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, the ministry had greatly underestimated the preparation needed, including not updating their so-called pandemic law since 2011 or any emergency medical stockpiles between 2011 and 2019.
Moreover, the purchase of protective equipment and medical supplies in the spring of last year was lacklustre and lead to significant differences in quality and price, with only 29% of purchased products reaching the necessary quality standards.
The Supreme Audit Office also pointed out that the health and interior ministries did not cooperate at the start of the pandemic, which led to delays in the distribution of protective equipment around the country. The interior ministry has already blamed the health ministry several times for failing to secure protective equipment.
Still, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš continues to deny any wrongdoing, saying that the whole world had been unprepared for the pandemic. With 24,800 coronavirus-related deaths, the Czech Republic is the world’s second-worst affected state in the number of deaths relative to population.