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Fluid resistant gowns to arrive in Wales from Cambodia

Two flights are due to arrive at Cardiff Airport with supplies of personal protective equipment.

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Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Isabel Infantes/PA)

A chartered flight carrying 200,000 fluid resistant gowns will arrive in Wales from Cambodia on Tuesday.

The flight is the first of two due to arrive this week to replenish supplies of gowns for NHS and social care staff in Wales.

It comes days after Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething warned fluid resistant gowns and masks were under the highest demand and said securing supplies of PPE was the Welsh Government’s “biggest priority”.

In total, 660,000 fluid resistant gowns will be flown into Cardiff Airport from Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Hangzhou in China this week.

A shipment of 10 million masks also arrived from China on Saturday and will be used in the Welsh NHS and in social care settings, with the Welsh Government also providing mutual aid to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Coronavirus has put supplies under pressure around the world. Today’s flight is the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes to secure new supplies of gowns for our frontline workers.

“I would like to thank Cardiff Airport, the military and the police for their support with this shipment of PPE, which will help to protect our frontline health and care staff.”

The Welsh Government said it had been working with NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership and the National Procurement Service to secure new international supplies of PPE, as well as developing Welsh supply chains.

Military support to unload the PPE will be provided by reservists from 3 Royal Welsh, which has its headquarters at Maindy Barracks.

Brigadier Andrew Dawes, the commander of military support to Wales during the coronavirus pandemic, said: “The military in Wales is extremely proud to support the Welsh Government and NHS Wales at this critical time as we all pull together.”

More than 60 million pieces of PPE have been supplied to health and social care workers in Wales during the outbreak.

The Welsh Government said PPE had been provided to all hospital and primary care staff, including to all pharmacies, emergency dental clinics, optometrists and GP surgeries.

On Monday, Mr Drakeford said two deliveries per week were being made to local authority stores for distribution in social care settings.

“Unlike in England, PPE for care homes is free in Wales,” he added.

Last week, Mr Gething told a press conference in Cardiff that Wales had enough stocks of all items to last “for a few days” but warned it did not have “weeks and weeks” worth.

He said pandemic stocks had been “nearly all distributed” and the Welsh Government was relying on replenishing normal supplies.

“This is why this really is the biggest priority for the Government,” he said.

More than 650 businesses in Wales have offered to help make PPE and other essential equipment, such as hand sanitiser, for the NHS.

Furloughed workers for Laura Ashley are producing up to 5,000 scrub sets per week for NHS Wales through workwear company Alexandra.

The Bristol-based company opened the doors to Laura Ashley’s Texplan factory in Newton, Powys, on Monday – a month after the clothing and furnishings manufacturer went into administration.

Rebecca Jones, global sales and commercial director at Alexandra, said: “When we heard about the Laura Ashley factory we were happy, as a business, to meet the cost of bringing an initial group of 20 machinists out of furlough for a period of 12 weeks to produce scrub sets.

“The number of machinists and the timeframe may increase depending on demand and it is very rewarding to see the private and public sectors coming together to get the machines rolling again to meet the current Covid challenge.”

On Monday, Public Health Wales reported that a further eight people have died after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total in Wales to 796.

An additional 203 people had tested positive for Covid-19, meaning there are now 9,280 confirmed cases in Wales.

PA