AN RAF jet is currently en route to Turkey to collect life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) as NHS hospitals are on the brink of running out of vital supplies to battle coronavirus (Covid-19).
The UK was reported to be expecting around 84 tonnes of desperately-needed life-saving PPE last night from Turkey, but it failed to arrive. The British government has blamed challenges in Turkey for the delayed arrival of severely lacking PPE, and has enlisted the RAF to collect the equipment instead. However, only one of three jets is reported to be on its way to collect it.
In response, Instanbul officials have hit back claiming that the UK only submitted “a formal request for the equipment on Sunday,” and there was “never a problem from Turkish authorities and all permissions have been issued very swiftly.”
The government has been aware of severe equipment shortages as health bodies have warned that hospitals are on the brink of running out of vital PPE, with some medical authorities stating that doctors could need to make “difficult decisions” between exposing themselves to the virus or letting a patient die on their watch. Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, has also accused the government of raising the hopes of health professionals with “promised PPE failing to arrive or turning out to be either faulty or the wrong kit.”
According to the UK’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the government is pursuing “every possible option around the world in order to secure more PPE. The UK and other countries are facing an international challenge to source the equipment and ministers are working hard to get the PPE our frontline NHS and social care staff need,” he stated in today’s press briefing.
“Britain is still working to resolve the Turkish shipment of PPE as soon as possible,” he added. Although he could not confirm when it will arrive, he did point out that a shipment of 140,000 gowns from Myanmar had arrived in the UK, which will provide some short-term relief to alleviate the UK’s severe PPE shortages to fight the coronavirus.