Wales politics

Coronavirus: 'A few days' full PPE left, says Welsh minister

Medical staff put on their personal protective equipment. Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Parts of England have been facing severe shortages of PPE

Securing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) is a "bigger priority" than challenges on coronavirus testing, Wales' health minister has said.

Vaughan Gething told a news conference there was only sufficient stock of all items to last for "a few days".

He said he was not in a position to say there would be "weeks and weeks" of PPE stock available.

Mr Gething added that there were "very real concerns" about the issue in government.

Speaking at Tuesday's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing, he said: "We have enough of stocks of all items to last for a few days, partly because of the mutual aid we received from other UK countries, partly because of the UK supplies that have come in that we've got our population share from.

"But we're not in a position to say that we have weeks and weeks of advanced stock on all of those items."

Image caption Vaughan Gething said there were "very real concerns" in the government over PPE stocks

Public Health England changed its advice on Friday to allow the NHS to re-use gowns if stock was running low, saying "some compromise" was needed "in times of extreme shortages".

On Tuesday, Mr Gething told journalists: "Just because we're not in the position that England found itself in on the weekend, that does not mean there are no concerns here.

"And there are very real concerns within the government."

Earlier in the news conference, he said maintaining supplies "relies on the hard work of a lot of people to maintain these supply chains and, of course, supply chains are under threat".

"The two items under highest demand are fluid-resistant gowns and masks, but we are confident we have enough of these at the moment," he said.

The minister added: "We are continuing to make regular [PPE] deliveries to health boards and to local authorities for onward distribution to social care".

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