A rural Donegal company is planning to take advantage of their ties with China to import PPE for local doctors in the fight against Covid-19.
Walmek Security Innovations Teo in Burtonport has launched a fundraiser to buy Personal Protection Equipment for medics in the county.
The company, which supplies locks for hotel rooms, is planning to make an order with their contacts in China in the coming week.
CEO Duncan Walshe told Donegal Daily that he has a “bad feeling” that the demand for PPE will soar in the weeks to come.
More than ten Aer Lingus cargo flights are due to deliver consignments of PPE from China to the Department of Health in the coming days. HSE chief executive Paul Reid said today that he was as “nervous as anybody” with the worldwide demand for PPE and was anxious to see every flight land and shipments distributed to the frontline.
Meanwhile, Mr Walshe said the global shortage of equipment has sparked concern among local healthcare workers.
“Now I’m aware that there are a load of planes landing from China but I feel that is not going to reach local GPs, hospices or NowDocs,” he said.
“We were hearing from local GPs that they do not have PPE. I was in a Skype conference with colleagues in China last week who said we should all be wearing face masks, when I told them we didn’t have any they said they would help us source what we needed.
“Unfortunately, it’s so expensive at the moment you do not get a lot. Before Christmas I was looking at masks selling for 20c each, now they are four and five dollars each,” Walshe said.
Walshe’s aim, through Walmek Security Innovations, is to make an order for as much PPE as possible. The equipment would be distributed by local GPs to nurses, local hospitals or doctors – wherever they are needed.
“Our company is going to put as much money as we can into this. It all depends on the funds we get in. Whether we bring one box of stuff in or a palette it’s not going to go to waste,” he said.
Walshe added that, due to processing and shipment delays, any orders made will take up to a fortnight to arrive in Ireland.
“I just have a bad feeling that in two weeks we will need a lot more PPE. I feel it’s better to order it now and be looking at it than looking for it.”