TURKEY is sending planeloads of emergency equipment to Britain to help hard-hit medics on the frontline battle coronavirus.
The first flight left earlier today carrying protective equipment including surgical masks, industrial masks and haz-mat suits.
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State-run Anadolu Agency said a military cargo plane carrying the medical supplies took off from an air base near the capital Ankara.
A second plane carrying more equipment will depart tomorrow, it reported.
There was no information on the actual quantity of the supplies sent, however photos showed multiple crates being loaded onto a huge plane.
In the past weeks, Turkey has also donated medical supplies to Italy, Spain as well as five countries in the Balkans.
The items were sent in boxes displaying the words of a 13th century poet: ‘There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness.’
“Turkish Armed Forces aircraft will transport to (the) United Kingdom the medical aid supplies…to be used in the fight against COVID-19,’ the Turkish Defence Ministry tweeted.
Anadolu said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had thanked Turkey for its help and his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu described the move as an “indication of strong friendship between the two countries.”
News of the flights came after it was revealed Germany is to donate 60 life-saving mobile ventilators to the hard-pressed NHS.
The Sun Online has reported how frontline NHS staff are running out of some equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients.
The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) is “a disaster in waiting for staff health”, NHS bosses have said.
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NHS leaders in London emailed about the shortfall on Thursday evening are said to be “alarmed” at the shortage of gowns.
And a letter to intensive care nurses at the Royal Free Hospital in London warns them “we will no doubt run out of items over the weekend”.
The shortfall comes after the death of a senior doctor who wrote to Boris Johnson warning of the need for ‘urgent’ PPE in the fight against Covid-19.
At least 20 NHS staff have now died after contracting the deadly bug, with Downing Street under pressure to ramp up PPE supplies for hospital and care home workers.
One senior doctor has said that medics felt like “cannon fodder” and “lambs to the slaughter” as they deal with covid-19 patients in wards.
While doctors and nurses have been snapped wearing rubbish bags around the bodies and mouths as makeshift PPE.
Other medics are said to have bought scrubs on Amazon or had friends knit them protective kit.
Earlier it was revealed England’s death toll has jumped by 866 in the last 24 hours – making it the biggest rise so far as the total number of deaths nears 9,000.
NHS England said the patients were aged between 27 and 100 – including 56 with no underlying health conditions.
The total death toll for England is now 8,114.
Today’s death rate in England is higher than yesterday’s jump of 765 and Wednesday’s recorded figure of 828.
London recorded the highest number of deaths at 249 and the Midlands not far behind with 229.
In Scotland today, 48 more people have died – bringing their death toll to 495.
In Northern Ireland, there were 10 new deaths – bringing their total to 92.
Wales has recorded 29 further deaths – with their total now at 315.
The death toll continues to climb as officials believe new Covid-19 infections will peak on Easter Sunday and the NHS is braced for a “tsunami” of cases.