PH carriers add wings to PPE deliveries, to get 170,000 sets from China
MANILA, Philippines — Local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific this week will airlift at least 170,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) that the Philippine government had bought from China and direly needed by health workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr, chief enforcer of the National Task Force COVID-19, said that on Monday (April 6) and Wednesday (April 8) there would be flights from PAL and Cebu Pacific to pick up the PPE sets from China.
The shipment of 93,000 PPE sets on Monday and Wednesday would be for Luzon and National Capital Region hospitals, said Galvez.
Another shipment of 84,000 PPE sets on Thursday and Friday would be for hospitals in the Visayas and Mindanao, he said.
The Philippine government earlier procured 1 million sets of PPE from China for P1.8 billion to support health care workers and those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
Each PPE set consists of an N95 mask, goggles, coveralls, head cover, shoe cover, surgical mask, gloves, and surgical gown.
Medical supplies have been in short supply, if not completely unavailable, as COVID-19 cases in the country continued to shoot up.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said last week his agency was looking for larger planes to support C-130 flights of the Philippine Air Force tasked with picking up the PPE in China.
A single flight of a C-130 plane of the PAF can carry only a maximum of 15,000 sets of PPE. On Monday, the PAF airlifted 14,000 PPE sets from China, Galvez said.