Vital supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care workers in Wales have today been flown into Cardiff Airport.
A chartered flight carrying 200,000 fluid resistant gowns will arrive from Cambodia.
Today’s flight has been arranged through Welsh contacts and is the first of two due to arrive this week, which will replenish vital supplies of gowns for the NHS and social care staff in Wales.
In total, 660,000 gowns will be flown in to Cardiff Airport on the flights, from Phnom Penh, in Cambodia and Hangzhou, in China.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been working very hard to make sure we continue to the right supply of PPE for Wales.
“Coronavirus has put supplies under pressure around the world. Today’s flight is the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes to secure new supplies of gowns for our frontline workers.
“I would like to thank Cardiff Airport, the military and the police for their support with this shipment of PPE, which will help to protect our frontline health and care staff.”
The Welsh Government has been working with NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership and the National Procurement Service to secure new international supplies of PPE as well as develop Welsh supply chains.
On Saturday, a shipment of 10m masks arrived from China. These will be used in the Welsh NHS and in social care settings but the Welsh Government has also provided mutual aid to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Deb Bowen Rees, chief executive officer, at Cardiff Airport said:
“We are extremely proud to be supporting the national effort during these extraordinary times. Our airfield has remained open, as it is vital – as part of Wales’ strategic transport infrastructure – that we are always in a position to support essential flying, in this case enabling supplies to get to frontline teams as quickly as possible.
“We remain ready to support any other flying, which Wales and the UK needs over the coming weeks and months and look forward to the return of commercial flights and our customers as soon as this lockdown period is over.”
Military support to unload the PPE has been provided by reservists from 3 Royal Welsh, headquartered at Maindy Barracks.
The commander of the military support to Wales during the coronavirus pandemic, Brigadier Andrew Dawes CBE said: “The military in Wales is extremely proud to support the Welsh Government and NHS Wales at this critical time as we all pull together.
“The soldiers involved in this task are almost all Welsh reservists who have volunteered to support their communities and the NHS in providing support at Cardiff Airport this week.”
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, added:
“Cardiff Airport is strategically important to Wales and the Welsh economy – it’s great to see it playing such an important role in maintaining vital supplies of PPE to our frontline health and social care workers.”