200,000 face masks ordered from China by County Council

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 May 2020

Cllr David Finch, leader of Essex County Council. Photo: Essex County Council.

Cllr David Finch, leader of Essex County Council. Photo: Essex County Council.

Essex County Council

Hundreds of thousands of face masks have been ordered from China by Essex County Council (ECC).

ECC said 200,000 protective face masks have been ordered from the Jiangsu province in China, which will be used in social care services during the coronavirus crisis.

The masks were bought through ECC’s International Trade Team for both Essex and Norfolk, with 100,000 of them arriving this week. The purchase is part of wider plans which the council says they are putting in place to meet an “urgent local need” caused by a “national shortage of PPE”.

The County Council also said it is making PPE sourcing available free of charge to other councils across the country throughout the pandemic - a service which includes identifying suppliers and offering advice on prices and minimum orders.

The costs were kept low according to ECC. This was due to working with a global supply chain specialist called Woodland Group, who was in charge of the logistics.

Councillor David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I’m so pleased we have been able to work with our colleagues in China and across the supply chain to procure this vital equipment and to also be able to offer this support to other councils in critical need of PPE.

“While we know the government is doing everything they can to get more PPE to the care sector, in Essex we have been very clear that we cannot sit around and wait for this to happen.

“The national PPE shortage will not be solved overnight and so we have been actively working on our own solutions. It is of paramount importance that care staff are protected so that they can carry out their vital duties to keep people safe.”

Cllr Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “It has been hugely beneficial to have Essex’s Chinese contacts and expertise alongside our own sourcing team, and Woodland Group has been exemplary in arranging inspection and airfreight, so we could get quality PPE to the front line quickly.”

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