Turkey sends planeloads of emergency coronavirus equipment to Britain

‘After darkness, there is the much brighter sun’: Turkey sends planeloads of emergency equipment including masks and protective suits to Britain in poetry-inscribed boxes to help UK medics battling coronavirus

  • First flight from Ankara took off today carrying personal protective equipment 
  • A second flight is due to take off on Saturday, according to the defence ministry
  • Sent in boxes displaying the words of 13th century Sufi Poet Jalaluddin Rumi
  • The German Army is also sending 60 ventilators to the UK, Berlin confirmed

Turkey today began sending planeloads of emergency equipment to Britain to help medics fighting coronavirus.

The first flight from Ankara took off today carrying personal protective equipment including surgical masks, N95 industrial masks and hazmat suits, with a second flight due to take off on Saturday, according to the defence ministry.

The items were sent in boxes displaying the words of 13th century Sufi Poet Jalaluddin Rumi: ‘After hopelessness, there is so much hope and after darkness, there is the much brighter sun.’ 

It came as the German army said it was donating 60 mobile ventilators to the NHS as officials scramble to get enough life-saving equipment to meet the expected peak of the coronavirus epidemic.

The first flight from Ankara took off today carrying personal protective equipment including surgical masks, N95 industrial masks and hazmat suits

The items were sent in boxes displaying the words of 13th century Sufi Poet Jalaluddin Rumi: ‘There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness.’

In the past weeks, Turkey has similarly donated medical supplies to Italy, Spain – who like the UK are Nato allies – as well as five countries in the Balkans.

In the past weeks, Turkey has similarly donated medical supplies to Italy, Spain – who like the UK are Nato allies – as well as five countries in the Balkans. 

‘At the direction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Armed Forces aircraft that will transport to (the) United Kingdom the medical aid supplies prepared by Turkey’s Health Ministry to be used in the fight against COVID-19 has departed Etimesgut/Ankara,’ the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

There was no information on the quantity of the supplies sent. 

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab  had thanked Turkey in a phone conversation on Wednesday with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, describing it as an ‘indication of strong friendship between the two countries.’

The German embassy to  Britain today confirmed a report in Der Spiegel that the Bundeswehr would be sending ventilators to the UK as soon as possible.

A statement on the embassy’s Twitter feed said: ‘Support for our friends in the UK – the Bundeswehr is donating 60 mobile ventilators to the UK.’

The NHS is currently reported to have around 10,000 ventilators – still some 8,000 short of the 18,000 which Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said will be required.

The Government has appealed to British manufacturers to fill the gap, but, while a number of firms have come forward, it is taking time to gear up production.

In the meantime, the NHS has been seeking to source supplies from overseas, including 200 from the United States, with president Donald Trump saying this week: ‘They need them desperately.’   

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