Coronavirus: Plaid tells Welsh Government 'get PPE from abroad'

By Teleri Glyn Jones
BBC News

Adam PriceImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Plaid leader Adam Price says the first minister has given him authorisation to "explore international co-operation"

Plaid Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) internationally.

The Northern Ireland Executive is attempting to source PPE from a Chinese firm, but is yet to finalise a deal.

The Welsh Government is working with the UK Government on PPE supply.

But Adam Price, Plaid Cymru's leader, believes the Welsh Government should "take a belt and braces" approach and procure its own supply too.

The Welsh Government says it is "making every effort to source PPE" for the coronavirus response which includes "engaging with suppliers domestically and internationally".

A Welsh Government source said they had been working with Chinese suppliers for months but attempts to procure their own supply could undermine the UK-wide approach.

Mr Price says he has been given authorisation by First Minister Mark Drakeford to "explore international co-operation".

However a tweet by Welsh Government Minister for International Trade Baroness Morgan suggested her department would be leading procurement strategy.

In response to Mr Price, Baroness Morgan wrote: "All initiatives that might assist the Welsh Government in the fight against Covid-19 are welcome but the first minister has made it clear that any formal actions undertaken for the Welsh Government on the international front will be taken by the department that I lead."

Mr Price has written to Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and says in response he has received a letter saying China would be willing to "provide assistance".

He writes: "Please do let us know if there is anything specific we could do. China stands ready to provide assistance to the best of our capability."

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: "On top of our traditional supply lines, working with UK government and searching out and engaging with new suppliers domestically and internationally, we are making full use of our overseas office network.

"Working directly with colleagues in Wales, our offices, particularly in China, have played an important role in identifying sources of PPE, feeding in any offers of stock and being a part of the due diligence process for any PPE supplies identified."