A military transport plane left the United Kingdom for Turkey to retrieve a delayed cargo from an urgently needed personal protection expedition, Sky News said.
The Atlas plane took off from an Oxfordshire air base and two more Royal Air Force planes are expected to follow in the next 24 hours.
With a round trip estimated at 12 hours, the first aircraft loaded with COVID-19 will arrive at RAF Brize Norton at the earliest Tuesday morning.
It was two days after announcement by housing secretary Robert Jenrick that the “significant” cargo would arrive.
Sunday, the secretary of education Gavin Williamson confirmed delay and said he hoped they would land in the UK on Monday.
Turkish sources said the delay was unrelated to them.
“There has never been a problem on the part of the Turkish authorities, on the contrary, all permits were issued very quickly,” said a Turkish official.
A request for equipment was not presented by the United Kingdom until Sunday evening, whereas the Turkish company which supplies the equipment had not filed a request with the ministry for Health until today, according to the manager.
Since March, a special authorization to export PPE must be requested from the Ministry of Health.
The Department of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Department of Health and Welfare have not yet given a reason for the delay.
But the defense source said he thought it was due to the fact that the Turkish manufacturer’s equipment had to be in the right place, coupled with “bureaucratic problems on their side (Turkish)”.
Earlier this morning, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News he was “confident” that the 84 tonnes of PPE would leave Turkey “later in the afternoon”.
The delay in delivery would be on the Turkish side, according to the defense source.
The source said this was due to the fact that the Turkish manufacturer’s equipment had to be in the right place, coupled with “bureaucratic problems on their side (Turkish)”.
A second military transport aircraft is scheduled to fly to Turkey on Tuesday evening to help bring back the PPE and a third is scheduled to travel on Wednesday morning, the source said.
These schedules could slip or the number of flights could be reduced depending on the quantity that can be installed on the plane making the trip.
At the same time, if three planes are not enough, two additional flights could be made.
The chief executive officer of the NHS Confederation, which represents organizations from all health sectors, said the delays in shipping from Turkey “make the situation worse.”
Niall Dickson said, “It would have been better if the government hadn’t made the announcement in the first place. “
Chancellor Rishi Sunak kicks off Daily Monday briefing on PPE, claiming that the UK regularly receives shipments from domestic and foreign suppliers, and expects 140,000 dresses from Myanmar to be shipped.
But he said the Turkish expedition was still delayed.
Mr. Sunak said, “We are improving our international and domestic supply to ensure that we can get the PPE we need in a very difficult international environment.
“But people on the front lines can rest assured that we are doing absolutely everything we can and are working hard to get the equipment they need. “