The Aer Lingus A330 carrying a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) equipment from China has landed back at Dublin Airport.

The equipment will be distributed to health care facilities from this evening.

It is the first of 10 flights to Beijing to deliver PPE to Ireland as part of a €208m deal.

The Health Service Executive has said that around €30 million of PPE equipment has already arrived in Ireland from a number of destinations across the globe, including from China.

The supplies have been flown in as the death toll from Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland rose to 36.

So far, 445 out of almost 2,000 cases of the virus analysed here are associated with healthcare workers and there is concern they will not have the proper equipment to protect themselves, as they work in the coming days and weeks.

Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE have said there is a global shortage of such equipment.

The Department of Health has now spent more than €200m on sourcing extra PPE supplies from China.

The normal annual spend would be around €15m.

The shipment from Beijing, worth around €28m, landed in Dublin Airport this afternoon.

The Aer Lingus plane flew out to China yesterday and the Department of Foreign affairs posted pictures on social media of equipment crated up and ready to load onto the plane.

Minister Harris said the HSE would begin distributing the masks, gowns and eye shields from this evening. Ten more flights are due to deliver equipment over the coming days.

Separately, the HSE held a media briefing this morning at the Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre.

The hotel is due to start operating as an isolation facility for those who cannot isolate elsewhere, while the conference centre will become a step down facility for patients who no longer need critical care.