IRELAND HAS secured delivery of 120 million PPE masks from South Korea over the coming weeks.
Speaking at an HSE briefing from Dublin’s Mater Hospital, CEO Paul Reid cited Ireland’s “good international links” as crucial rin securing the supplies.
He estimates that 1.2 million masks are required on a daily basis across the Irish health system to battle coronavirus.
"In a more strategic approach, the big pressure we're under relates to masks, you'll be familiar with the changing definition of the use of masks for all healthcare workers,” Reid said.
"That has brought our demand on a daily basis from 200,000 per day to over 1,000,000 masks per day, 1.2million masks per day.
"So we need a supply line that can bring us a supply on a weekly basis of over 9million masks.
"We're very happy to say as part of that strategy, every country is chasing these all over the world and again, due to our good international links through the IDA and the Departments, we have made contacts through South Korea.
"Thankfully, from a call from the Taoiseach last week, to President Moon in South Korea, we have been able to unlock the supply line of masks for the Irish healthcare system.
"120 million masks will be delivered, we are just finalising the delivery schedule over the coming weeks, 120 million masks will be very significant."
Last month, U2 frontman Bono wrote to South Korea President Moon Jae-in asking for help with Ireland’s fight against coronavirus.
Bono previously met with Moon Jae-in last December, following U2’s first-ever concert in South Korea.
The newly-announced deal comes as Reid predicts the overall cost of PPE in Ireland across 2020 is likely to hit €1 billion.
"There are huge drivers of costs for us in the HSE both in terms of PPE and testing and tracing,” he said.
"Our PPE projections, both on the high demand and price that's demanding in the market, the extra volume that we're using and the extra distribution we're having to supply in the whole healthcare system our projections are that the costs will be likely over the year €1billion.
"€250 million a quarter for PPE in the Irish healthcare system.
"Similarly, very significant costs in our contact testing and tracing.
"But however, the costs of not investing in these are much higher in terms of the costs for society in not unlocking restrictions."