Czech Army builds a system of biological protection

Techonin, photo CTK

By Pavla Horakova This week speculation appeared in the media about a military hospital being built at a secret location somewhere in the Czech Republic. Reportedly, the hospital is meant to study and treat deadly infectious diseases, such as the plague, anthrax or Ebola. The Daily Mlada fronta Dnes suggests the location in question might be the village of Techonin near the city of Hradec Kralove in east Bohemia. To end the media speculation the Czech Army called a press conference on Thursday and the chief of the Military Health Service, general Jan Petras, told journalists what was going on.

Techonin,  photo CTK
"Within NATO the Czech Republic concentrates on passive monitoring systems and protection against weapons of mass destruction. These two main specialisations have been included in the planned reform of the army. And thats why we are working on this project."

The project is intended as a response to a potential terrorist attack or an attack using biological weapons of mass destruction. General Petras admitted it is a reaction to the September events in the United States. The project is being financed by the Czech Defence Ministry and the estimated cost is several hundred million crowns. Mr Petras deliberately avoided the term hospital. He explained why.

"I never spoke about one facility. There is a whole system. The system has several stages, which well finish one by one until the system is fully functional. By the end of this year we will have finished the second stage. The system implies a continuity of activities starting from the moment weapons of mass destruction are used."

General Petras went on to explain what the term system entails. The systems goal is biological protection of both the military and the civilian population. First it is necessary to recognise what type of weapon or agent has been used, then to move affected people - the final step is hospitalisation and treatment. All that has to be coordinated during a very short period of time and with regard to the safety of the rest of the population. Further information remains classified - General Petras would not disclose names, precise figures or locations.