The delivery of 84 tons of desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from Turkey to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been delayed and will not be arriving on Sunday as expected, the British Sky News reported.
The source of the delay is not yet known, but the Royal Air Force was reportedly prepared to transport the PPE, including 400,000 surgical gowns, from Turkey.
Ministers announced on Saturday the UK was due to get the vital gear on Sunday, and the setback comes as the British government faces growing criticism over shortages and its handling of the coronavirus crisis.
A British government spokesperson said, “We are continuing to work to ensure the shipment is delivered as soon as possible.”
There have been claims that the lives of doctors, nurses and patients are at risk from COVID-19 in the UK because some supplies are running out this weekend.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Saturday the 84 tons of PPE was “a very significant additional shipment” but that it would only be enough to last the NHS for three days.
Guidance from Public Health England says long-sleeved disposable fluid-repellent gowns should be worn when treating COVID-19 patients.