Prime Minister visits sites in North East helping in Covid battle

Tom Wilkinson, PA

The Prime Minister has met workers helping the country to fight back against the pandemic by developing vaccines, coronavirus tests and making PPE.

Boris Johnson toured three plants in the north east of England, and paid tribute to their efforts to help beat the disease.

He was at the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, which is scheduled to produce millions of doses of the Novavax vaccine and is still being trialled.

After meeting some of the plant’s 850-strong workforce, he said: “If approved, Novavax will further strengthen our already record breaking vaccine rollout.

“The work of the team here to get this vaccine ready showcases some of the very best of British science and manufacturing.

“I’m hugely proud of the efforts here at Fujifilm, as we all come together to beat this pandemic.

“I urge you all to keep up this vital work, helping to get those vaccines into arms and protecting our most vulnerable.”

Mr Johnson then visited the Newcastle-based QuantuMDx Group, which has developed a 30-minute coronavirus testing device, known as Q-POC.

The firm said the innovation offered lateral flow test wait times with lab-standard accuracy.

It has been designed for rapid PCR testing in clinical settings to ensure the safety of frontline NHS staff.

Boris Johnson visits manufacturing facilities in the North East
The Prime Minister during a visit to a PPE manufacturing facility in Seaton Delaval (Scott Heppell/PA)

The Prime Minister then went to the Northumbria Healthcare Manufacturing Hub in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, where the 60-strong staff have made two million gowns.

He donned a hair net and mask and joined staff in cutting cloth and watched as seamstresses swiftly made PPE for both general and clinical use.

It supplies 10 local hospitals and others across the country with protective wear for health staff.

Managing director Sarah Rose said: “We are always striving to improve what we do and I feel very proud as our hub and the North East are leading the way.

“It is a very special initiative to be involved in as I know the difference we are making to those working on the frontline in our incredible NHS.”

From Our Partners