Czech mask
© AFP / Michal CizekFILE PHOTO. Prague, Czech Republic.
The Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS), the country's highest authority over executive actions, overruled the Health Ministry's mask mandate on Tuesday, declaring the measure unjustified and threatening to cancel it.

In a statement posted to the court's website, the NSS issued a final judgement warning that the Health Ministry's rule ordering the wearing of masks in buildings and on public transport in the Czech Republic will be cancelled within three days if the ministry does not provide sufficient justification for the measure.

So far, the NSS claims the ministry has been "systemically ignoring" its decision, despite the court having the final say over executive actions taken by the Czech government.

"The court only requires the ministry to meet the requirements for justification, which are clearly set out in the pandemic law. Nevertheless, the ministry is unable to meet this requirement," the president of the eighth chamber of the NSS, Petr Mikes, said.

This is the third time the NSS has ordered that a Health Ministry mask mandate be overruled, having previously blasted the government's reasoning on the matter, raising concerns about the claim that the benefits of wearing a respirator outweigh the health risks. The court has already ordered the ministry to provide scientific evidence that backs up its decision to implement the mask order but, according to the NSS, the government has failed to do so.

Comment: If the evidence was irrefutable, then surely they would have no problem providing it - they've had over a year, and masses of data by this point - but, as it is, what the evidence actually shows, which has been accepted and promoted by authorities and governments worldwide - including the WHO - is that mask wearing does not protect against viral transmission, and worse, it's actually likely to cause and aggravate disease due to a lack of oxygen and the unsanitary conditions it fosters.

The decision from the NSS was sparked after an individual suffering from a long-term respiratory disease brought the case over concerns that they struggle to wear a mask and fear it endangers them more than not wearing one.

Comment: Giving weight to the idea that, even in our increasingly dystopian world, individual actions (that don't put us in harm's way) do count for something, sometimes, and even if only for a short while.

The Health Ministry's mask mandate currently requires that citizens wear face coverings in shops, service establishments, public transport, medical facilities, and social services.