Western Morning News

We need to be self-sufficient in PPE


SINCE there is continued uncertaint­y over the supply of PEP gowns, the latest being a large consignmen­t manufactur­ed in Turkey that has been delayed at the last minute and explained by the possibilit­y that its export license has been rescinded because those gowns are needed in Turkey, proving it is absolutely necessary the UK should be self-sufficient in the manufactur­e of such equipment, even if it costs a bit more than foreign-made stuff that might not be up to standard, not the amount ordered and probably paid for, and cannot be checked until after arriving at a UK airport.

It was reported earlier that a government request went out to British industry to make more gowns, and was answered by a number of companies who heard nothing more after their initial responses.

Could it be that those responses never reached a Whitehall level senior enough to make such decisions because they got filtered out on the way up our “nonpolitic­al” civil service hierarchy? I have a dreadful feeling there might still be a number of “Remainers” who want to reverse the Brexit decision by discrediti­ng this government at every opportunit­y.

We are in a different world. Corvid 19 is not going away any time soon and might even be followed by another global virus, sooner or later. We have to be ready for the next global plague caused by too much globalisat­ion.

In 2015, Bill Gates said we have more to fear from microbes than missiles. In a previous era, Germany pioneered weaponisin­g chlorine gas and we had to defend against it for a long time after.

Suddenly, the UK has to switch from financial services to manufactur­ing and inventing what we need most, while computer viruses are aimed at our utilities, manufactur­ing, agricultur­e, forestry, fishing and marine farming, while we change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, reduce waste and atmospheri­c methane and go back to manual labour instead of paying for expensive exercise in urban gyms.

Tony Maskell Newton Ferrers

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