UK to create 4-month stockpiles of protective equipment for health, social care workers
The United Kingdom will establish four-month stockpiles of personal protective equipment for use by health and social care workers from November as part of efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Monday.
“Four-month stockpiles of items such as face masks, visors and gowns will be in place from November to provide a continuous flow to the frontline, helping to ensure staff always have the equipment they need,” the department said in a press release.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that three-quarters of the demand for personal protective equipment will be met by domestic manufacturers, adding that the supplies will allow workers to continue to provide vital care amid the ongoing pandemic.
“As we take every step to combat this virus we are setting out this plan to reassure our health and social care workers that they will have the PPE they need to carry out their tireless work,” Hancock was quoted as saying.
In April, the UK government faced criticism for having failed to create stockpiles of vital medical equipment, including gowns and respirator masks, ahead of the onset of the coronavirus disease. At that time, National Health Service staff said that they were at risk due to equipment shortages.
The United Kingdom is in the midst of a second Covid-19 wave, and 5,693 new positive tests were registered by the Department of Health and Social Care on Sunday. The country’s case total currently sits at 434,969 and 41,988 people have died due to complications from the disease within 28 days of a positive test, according to government data.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week announced the introduction of pub and bar curfews from 22:00 [21:00 GMT] as part of renewed efforts to curb the spread of the disease.