Coronavirus: ‘Herculean effort’ to provide NHS protective gear

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Matt Hancock with Jonathan Van-Tam and Ruth MayImage copyright PA Media

The UK will now ensure daily deliveries of personal protective equipment to frontline workers, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

He said it had been a “Herculean effort”, following criticism that the government was not doing enough to protect workers.

Officials told the daily briefing the lockdown is “beginning to pay off” but it was still a “dangerous situation”.

The UK recorded another 980 hospital deaths, bringing the total to 8,958.

Mr Hancock said 15 drive-through testing centres had also been opened across the UK to enable all frontline staff to be screened for the virus.

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“I can announce today that we have capacity for all key social care staff and NHS staff who need to be tested to get those tests,” he told the briefing.

Chief nursing officer Ruth May paid tribute to frontline staff who had died after contracting coronavirus. “The NHS is a family and we feel their loss deeply,” she said.

Mr Hancock said the daily deliveries of protective equipment would start next week, but said it must be used only where it was most needed.

“There’s enough PPE to go around, but only if it’s used in line with our guidance. We need everyone to treat PPE like the precious resource that it is,” he said.

He cautioned against using protective gear outside of health and social care settings, saying hand washing, social distancing and staying at home were the best ways for people to stay safe.

“A front door is better than any face mask”, he said.

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