Responding to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's statement at today's coronavirus press conference, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"It’s welcome that the UK is now ramping up our efforts to develop a vaccine alongside scientists around the world, but even the most optimistic forecasts put the earliest roll out many months from now.
"However, yet again Ministers failed to convince on the most critical immediate issue, namely the lack of personal protective equipment for health and care staff.
“The lack of protective equipment is even more pressing given the latest reports that Public Health England is set to ask frontline staff to wear aprons due to a severe shortage of gowns. The increased risk this will pose to frontline workers is intolerable.
"Ministers' repeated assurances that the supply of protective kit for staff is under control now look totally threadbare. The Government’s failure to take advice and look at alternative supply options, such as working with EU partners, now looks like a serious mistake.
"Ultimately, rhetoric cannot hide reality. The Government now risks losing the trust of the public, including the frontline workers we rely on to provide lifesaving treatment to Covid-19 patients."