RAF Plane carrying PPE for NHS arrives from Turkey

22 April 2020, 07:03

Supplies have previously been shipped from Turkey to the UK [file photo]
Supplies have previously been shipped from Turkey to the UK [file photo]. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

An RAF plane believed to be bringing vital stocks of protective equipment from Turkey has touched down in the UK.

The equipment needed for the NHS in the fight against coronavirus was originally due to arrive from Turkey on Sunday, but the RAF collected it following repeated hold-ups.

The Royal Air Force plane arrived at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire from Istanbul just after 3am.

The plane had been dispatched from the Oxfordshire base, where two other planes are on stand-by to pick up further kit from Turkey, late on Monday.

It is not known if the consignment, which was ordered on Thursday and originally due to arrive on Sunday, includes 400,000 badly-needed surgical gowns.

There is a global of shortage of PPE and the Government has been criticised over its efforts to secure the essential equipment for healthcare workers.

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The Government has faced mounting pressure from politicians and the public over a perceived failure to provide frontline NHS staff with protective equipment.

Ministers insisted they were pursuing "every possible option" to secure additional kit but said that, with unprecedented worldwide demand, the situation is "very challenging".

Local Government Minister Simon Clarke could not give a timescale on when the full supplies would arrive earlier this week, saying only that it would be in the "next few days".