A "significant" consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been ordered from China for frontline workers, the finance minister has said.
Conor Murphy said it was a joint order between Stormont and the Irish government.
He said he hopes it gives some comfort to frontline workers, in particular those working in the health service.
“We have agreed a joint order with Dublin and there is procurement going on through the British system as well."
"To be prudent, we want to be sure that if the crisis that is coming our way becomes more severe in Britain and those supply lines across the Irish Sea dry up, then we want our own supply chain here. It is a joint effort," he added.
“The order has been placed and we want it here as soon as possible, and supplied to our frontline workers as soon as possible.”
While he would not be drawn on the size of the order, Mr Murphy said it was a “significant order which should satisfy our supply demands”.
He said there are "people on the ground in China at the moment".
“I understand how crucial this.
"We want all of the people on our frontline, most particularly in our health service but across all services, to be confident, to be assured, going into work that they are protected while trying to do their ground."