A plane carrying around ten million face masks and other vital pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) has landed in Scotland after taking off from China.
The charter flight touched down at Glasgow Prestwick Airport on Saturday morning.
Equipment is being distributed to health and social care facilities by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) amid “unprecedented demand” from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plane, operated by a company called Air Bridge Cargo, also brought infusion pumps for intensive care units and virus collecting kits for use in health laboratories.
The Scottish Government says it has delivered more than 50 million pieces of PPE to hospitals in the last seven weeks, while GPs were given eight weeks’ supply on March 30.
Trade minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland’s health and social care system is facing unprecedented demand.
“Protecting staff working on the front line is an absolute priority which is why we have been working at pace with the NHS and manufacturers both in Scotland and internationally to improve and increase the supply of PPE.
“This charter flight, carrying additional equipment ordered by the Scottish Government, is significant and we will be focusing the distribution of these supplies to health and social care settings over the coming days.
“In these incredibly challenging times the Scottish Government will continue to do all it can to make health and social care staff feel as safe as possible in their workplace.”
As well as the 10 million Type IIR fluid-resistant masks, the plane also carried virus testing kits for use in health board laboratories.
Jim Miller, director of procurement at NSS, said: “This delivery is the result of a painstaking collective effort involving multiple partners working together to provide our NHS and social care colleagues with the PPE they need to keep them safe.
“Together with supply partners and Scottish Government, NSS continues to work 24/7 to source and supply the PPE that Scotland needs to fight Covid-19.”
Stewart Adams, chief executive at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “While the coronavirus pandemic has meant the vast majority of commercial aircraft has been grounded, we’re continuing to operate our specialist freight-handling services in order to play an important part in supporting Scotland’s key workers during this difficult time.
“The PPE which we are receiving from China will be processed quickly so that this vital delivery can make its way to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”
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