Millions of pieces of protective kit arrive in Belfast

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by Michael McHugh and Rebecca Black, PA

More than five million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers have arrived in Belfast.

They include 1.3 million aprons and 307,800 respirator masks.

Health minister Robin Swann visited the Boucher Road warehouse where the kit is being held prior to distribution.

He said: "I want to make clear that we have sufficient personal protective equipment supply for current demand and will continue to actively model projected demand.

"We are working extremely hard to secure more supplies, given anticipated future demand and the likelihood of a second surge later in the year.

"As I have stated, there's not a country in the world that can definitively say it has enough PPE in stock, given the global uncertainty about the path this virus will take.

"We are continuing to proactively pursue all feasible PPE supply routes, both international and local. I can confirm that further supply is being sourced from the local economy."

Monday morning's delivery comprises around half of the aprons from an NHS consignment and some 40% of the masks, with the remainder expected early this week.

Hospitals, ambulance crews, primary care Covid-19 centres, care homes, domiciliary care workers and other parts of the system are working flat out to care for people, the minister said.

Newly updated UK-wide guidance has been issued in recent days, providing detailed guidelines on the types of equipment required for different clinical settings.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives were involved in developing it.

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