Army delivers vital coronavirus supplies to hospitals as NHS faces shortages

The army has been called in to help fight the coronavirus epidemic – by delivering vital equipment to NHS staff up and down the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted that there had been "challenges" with the supply of personal protective equipment to NHS staff in England – but said that he is determined to rise to them.

He said a million face masks had been bought over the weekend and that the government was taking the issue "very seriously”.

"I am determined to ensure that the right kit gets to the right hospital, the right ambulance service, the right doctors' surgery, right across the country," he said.

He added: "There have been challenges and I can see that. We're on it and trying to solve all the problems.”

Yesterday, Dr Natalie Ashburner told ITV News: “The fears of healthcare workers are that if we don’t have the correct PPE [protective equipment], we can’t protect our patients in the way that we want to.

“We won’t be able to treat them in the way that we want to and ultimately that more people could die."

The Doctors’ Association, a professional organisation for doctors across the UK, tweeted: “Please don’t treat us as cannon-fodder.

“We are over 6000 frontline doctors who are pleading with Boris Johnson to intervene to ensure all NHS staff adequate personal protective equipment when facing the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mr Hancock says that the army will be delivering protective equipment to hospitals and other healthcare facilities “around the clock”.

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Appearing on Sky News, he said a shipment of protective equipment had been sent to every hospital over the weekend and he is working to ensure "there is a constant flow".

He added that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to fighting the outbreak – suggesting that a curfew enforced by police was possible, in line with the strict measures taken in Italy and other countries.

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