Councils do not have enough protective equipment to keep those in care homes safe from the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told parliament all care homes should have personal protective equipment (PPE) by the end of last week.

However, Redbridge Council received only a week’s worth of masks and aprons and no gloves, according to the council leader.

Waltham Forest Council, meanwhile, says PPE is “in short supply” and is calling on local businesses to donate any equipment they have spare.

On Saturday (March 28), Cllr Jas Athwal tweeted: “In Redbridge, we received aprons & masks but no gloves. Only a week's supply. We had to source the gloves ourselves.

“PPE is the first line & last of defence against Covid-19. Our staff are the first line of defence, give them the tools to do their jobs. Lives are depending on it.”

'This cannot wait'

Waltham Forest Council leader Cllr Clare Coghill added: “This cannot wait - we need to see very swift progress on this.

“Our councils’ and communities’ response has been great right across London and the Government need to match this.”

In a newsletter sent to residents today, Waltham Forest Council asked local businesses like nail bars, craft studios or butchers to consider donating supplies, adding: “No donation is too small.”

Donations can be delivered to The Magistrates building next to the Town Hall. Those unable to travel are encouraged to email or contact the council on social media.

The Department of Health was contacted for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service but has yet to respond.

In a Guardian article published on March 28, a spokesperson is quoted as saying: “We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.

“The full weight of the government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry and social care providers to make sure care staff have the protection they deserve.”

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