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UK has enough protective equipment but there may be local shortages: health official

Britain's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty speaks during a daily digital news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain April 22, 2020. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has enough personal protective equipment (PPE) at the national level but there are local shortages that may persist in the coming days, the government’s chief medical adviser said on Wednesday.

Doctors on the front line have said they do not have sufficient equipment and do not feel fully protected at work, with a shortage of protective gowns among the main issues.

Referring to PPE supplies, Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said at a news conference: “We are still close to the line.”

“At national level we’re not under water on anything that I’m aware of ... but of course there may be local issues,” he said, adding that he could not promise that shortages would be over in 2 to 3 days.

Reporting by David Milliken, Paul Sandle and William James; writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison