April 17, 2020 / 1:26 PM / 4 months ago

UK is tight on gowns for front line fighting COVID-19, minister says

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Kingdom is tight on gowns for front line health workers fighting COVID-19 but hopes to get the right equipment where it is needed by the end of this weekend, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.

A director of a National Health Service trust told the BBC that he needed the phone numbers for Burberry and Barbour, who are making protective equipment, because he did not have enough gowns for his staff working on coronavirus wards.

“We are tight on gowns, that is the pressure point at the moment,” Hancock told the British Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee. “We have another 55,000 gowns arriving today and we’re working on the acquisition internationally of more gowns.”

When asked if he would ensure gowns got to the right places over the course of the weekend, he said that was the aim of the government. Hancock said that ultimately there was a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Paul Sandle.

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