Burberry to begin manufacturing non-surgical gowns and masks as Britain faces shortage of PPE

LONDON: English designer Burberry will begin making creams and masks to help with unprecedented demand as the military creates a giant distribution to deliver the equipment daily to healthcare providers.

The UK government is asking more companies to turn over their production lines to make protective gear, as it faces a Herculean challenge to meet demand.

Global spirits giant Diageo and chemical giant Ineos have already started producing hand sanitizers, while British jet engine maker Rolls Royce and supercar maker McLaren have turned their production lines into visors.

Burberry, famous for her iconic trench coats and Tartan plaid scarves and bags, is reusing her coat factory in Yorkshire to make non-surgical gowns and masks. The luxury brand, which has suffered significant business losses due to blockades worldwide, is also using its existing global chain network to accelerate the delivery of 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS for use by medical personnel.

In normal times, the NHS supply chain for PPE supplies 233 hospital trusts. Right now, 58,000 healthcare and healthcare providers need PPE, so we have had to create a whole new logistics network from scratch, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. There is great international demand for PPE and a global supply constraint. To compound this, some countries have imposed export bans and other restrictions on PPE while seeking to secure their internal needs, he said. He said that the UK was therefore securing new supply lines worldwide and increasing domestic production.

Burberry is also funding research for a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford that is on track to begin human trials next month.

Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said: Covid-19 has fundamentally changed our daily lives, but we hope that the support we provide will serve to save more lives, control the virus and help our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, let's get through this.