The Executive will continue to work tirelessly to secure PPE supplies for frontline workers.
That was the pledge from Health Minister Robin Swann and Finance Minister Conor Murphy as they confirmed the first consignment of a major PPE order from China.
1.5 million Type 11R respirator masks arrived in Belfast in recent days, the first instalment from this supply line.
In total just over 63m Type 11R Masks have been purchased alongside 109m gloves (54.6m pairs). The total value of the contract is just over £60m.
The remainder of this consignment will be delivered in a phased basis over coming weeks and will be a major boost to supplies for local health and social care services.
The purchase has been the result of a joint endeavour between the Department of Health, Department of Finance and The Executive Office.
The two Ministers thanked staff in their Departments for their hard work in making the order possible. They also praised the important contribution of the NI Bureau and Invest NI in China in developing the supply line.
Minister Swann stated: “There is intense global demand for PPE products so the achievement in securing this order should not be underestimated.
“However, demand for PPE will remain at very high levels for a considerable period – not just in health and social care but in other sectors too.
“I have made clear that PPE products will be only be issued to frontline staff after they are assessed. I am pleased to confirm that the reports on the new consignment are positive in this regard.”
Minister Murphy: “Establishing a supply line with China, in the face of significant international competition for PPE, is a significant achievement for the Executive. This has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of the procurement teams in Health and Finance along with the Bureau in China.
“At the same time as opening up a supply line with China, it is important to ramp up local supply of PPE. Many companies have already repurposed their operations and this should be expanded to provide security of supply and create employment as we move towards economic recovery.”