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Monday Mar 23 2020
By
Reuters

Coronavirus: UK takes army's help to provide protective kits to health workers

By
Reuters

LONDON: Britain said on Monday it is speeding up the provision of protective equipment to its healthcare workers battling coronavirus and also taking the army's help with deliveries of kits to meet the dwindling supply at hospitals. 

The distribution and delivery of millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks will now be carried out by the army who will drive trucks throughout the day and night, health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.

Millions more items have been provided to hospitals, ambulance trust, GP practices, care homes and other health services in the last few days, he added, after complaints emerged from medical staff that they did not have enough kit.

The authorities have released protective kit from the national stockpile reserved for pandemic influenza, said the joint statement from the department of health and National Health Service on Monday.

They said that supply of protective equipment was rising.

“We are taking urgent action to ensure dedicated frontline NHS and social care staff – who are working tirelessly to tackle this outbreak – feel supported. Today they are getting millions more PPE kits as part of that promise,” Hancock said.

There was now enough supply of PPE available, added the statement, but acknowledged that there could be challenges in future due to unprecedented global demand plus the fact that most kit is made in China, where coronavirus hit production.

“The NHS is working closely with the government, NHS Supply Chain and industry to continue to secure additional supplies,” the authorities said in a statement.