RAF

Coronavirus: RAF Plane Arrives In UK With Delayed PPE From Turkey

It is not known if the delivery, originally due to arrive on Sunday, includes 400,000 badly-needed surgical gowns.

An RAF aircraft carrying a delayed delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) has arrived in the UK from Turkey.

The A400m Atlas landed at RAF Brize Norton from Istanbul in the early hours on Wednesday morning.

The plane was dispatched from the RAF base in Oxfordshire on Monday, where two other planes are on standby to pick up further kit from Turkey if required.

The flight was carrying part of an 84-tonne load of equipment that is urgently needed by frontline health workers treating COVID-19 patients in the UK. 

It is not known if the delivery, originally due to arrive on Sunday, includes 400,000 surgical gowns.

The Government has faced mounting criticism over its failure to ensure NHS staff treating coronavirus patients have the protective equipment they need.

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

Earlier this week, Local Government Minister Simon Clarke was unable to give a timescale on when the full supplies would arrive.

PPE equipment from Turkey arrives at RAF Brize Norton for Coronavirus 100420 CREDIT MOD.jpg
A previous PPE kit delivery from Turkey arrived at RAF Brize Norton nearly two weeks ago (Picture: MOD).

Mr Clarke only said the equipment would be arriving in the "next few days". 

Meanwhile, the Government has said that 140,000 gowns have arrived from Burma, but with the NHS using 150,000 gowns each day, the demand on resources remains intense.

Speaking at the Number 10 press briefing on Monday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said work was ongoing to find more PPE.

“We’re improving our sourcing internationally and domestically to make sure we can get the PPE we need in what is a very challenging international context," he said.

It comes as nearly 300 military personnel are being deployed to two temporary hospital facilities to help treat coronavirus patients.

Cover image: An A400m Atlas, that is believed to have collected the supplies from Turkey, at RAF Brize Norton (Picture: PA).