Securing more personal protective equipment was top of the agenda for the British Prime Minister as he returned to work, his spokesman said.

The Government is facing considerable criticism over shortages of the equipment needed to keep staff safe on the frontline as they care for Covid-19 patients.

Downing Street said that Boris Johnson used his first meeting of the Covid-19 war Cabinet since his recovery from coronavirus to focus on the need to secure PPE supplies.

It comes after the nation fell silent for a minute on Tuesday morning to remember key workers who have lost their lives after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

And the death toll among frontline health and care workers surpassed 100, according to figures from the PA news agency.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said that PPE was the issue he focused on at the meeting on Monday morning.

The Government defended its record on PPE, following a critical BBC Panorama investigation, with the PM’s spokesman saying “we have been working to secure gowns and other PPE from across the globe – and domestically – for a number of months”.

Some 12 million items of PPE were delivered on Monday to 227 trusts and care settings, including gloves, aprons, three different types of masks, eye protectors and gowns.

Earlier, Labour leader Keir Starmer said “too many” frontline workers have died during the fight against coronavirus “and we owe them a huge debt”.

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