Care home staff will run out of personal protective equipment (PPE) within days, due to failures in the new online ordering system, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) on Friday called for emergency supplies of millions of masks, aprons and gloves to tide them over until the Government’s “Clipper” system gets up and running.

The website is supposed to provide a central hub for the supply and distribution of PPE, announced after reports that workers in care homes rife with Covid-19 were forced to work unprotected.

However, delays have meant it is yet to be fully up and running, and it may not be fully operational for another three weeks, the LGA says.

The organisation wants central government officials to inform Local Resilience Forums, made of councils, emergency services and military planners, what PPE each region can expect.

It comes after the World Health Organisation estimated that half of all coronavirus deaths in Europe have taken place in care homes, describing an “unimaginable tragedy”.

Last week a letter from Birmingham MPs warned ministers that the city could completely run out of PPE by the end of the month. Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Social care staff and all those working in frontline roles are doing an incredible and dangerous job in challenging circumstances, given the chronic national shortfall of PPE.

“We must make sure our vital social care workers have all the protection and equipment they need to look after our most elderly and vulnerable.

“Emergency drops have been helpful, but they have been sporadic and inconsistent, with some supplies not always enough to meet local demand.”

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