Ireland shows how PPE should have been treated in March

While the UK comes to grips now with the lack of PPE, in Ireland the situation is somewhat different and the reason for that is this:

Sometime in March, Ireland struck a huge deal with China for 13x the usual annual spend on PPE. I do not know the exact dates but the first public reference to the deal is from March 23 and the first plane landed on March 29th, indicating that the deal predates the third week of March.

As far as I know, the deal  was done at a very high political level, not via the usual procurement channels. It is doubtful a similar deal would be possible now.

That the UK Government did not take the PPE issue seriously enough before mid-April is for the Government to explain.

Furthermore, export bans have wrecked pre-existing supply deals that had been struck at an operational level, leaving buyers without the agreed supplies:


Again, those export bans didn't happen recently, ie in the last couple of weeks, but have been happening since January, even from EU Member States (wrongly so, of course).

I don't see the PPE issue in the UK being solved today simply by means of traditional procurement channels.