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'We have the red carpet rolled out': First shipment of PPE supplies from China arrives in Dublin

This is the first delivery flight of the HSE’s €208 million order of PPE from China.

Updated Mar 29th 2020, 4:37 PM

AN AER LINGUS plane carrying €28 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Irish healthcare workers from China has landed at Dublin Airport.

The Airbus A330-302 plane was loaded with PPE including masks, gowns and goggles in Beijing before making the over 8,000 km flight back to Ireland. 

The shipment, worth an estimated €28 million, is made up of 11 million masks, 2.3 million eye protections, 2.4 million gowns, and nine million gloves. 

This is the first delivery flight of the HSE’s €208 million order of PPE from China.

The first ten cargo flights of the HSE’s order will be arriving between Sunday and Wednesday, and after that flights are expected to continue on a daily basis, according to HSE chief Paul Reid. 

As the plane approached Dublin Airport this afternoon, air traffic controllers from the Irish Aviation Authority radioed a thank-you message to the crew of the plane.

EI9019 Fáilte abhaile. Dublin ATC are proud to be guiding you home safely today. On behalf of the IAA and the entire nation I would like to express our appreciation for all you are doing during this time of need.We have the red carpet rolled out on Runway 28 for you today so expect a straight in approach

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Reid said the batch of PPE was up to the World Health Organisations standards but that it would be inspected upon arrival. 

“We are already assured that the Chinese provider is currently assembling and putting together what will be our second batch, so we would see flights continuing on a regular daily basis of the coming weeks. Both for this batch, and subsequent batches, up to the end of May and probably beyond as it is over €200 million of an order,” Reid said this morning.  

Reid said the large consignment of PPE will be distributed to all healthcare providers and systems across the country. This includes hospitals, primary care centres, GPs, and private nursing providers.

“Obviously this is a major logistical delivery. It will be distributed from our distribution centre this evening and will be distributed over the coming days. 

“And again, flights will continuously come in, go to our distribution centre and be continuously distributed on a rolling basis,” Reid said. 

The Government faced challenges in locating personal protective equipment for healthcare staff working in hospitals where Covid-19 patents are being treated. 

In a normal year, Reid says the HSE would normally procure 500,000 masks, 4 million gloves, 200,000 eye protectors, and 100,000 gowns.

This year it’s planning to procure over 36 million masks, 56 million gloves, 24 million gowns, and 24.4 million eye protectors. 

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