A Qatar Airways cargo flight bringing medical supplies from China to help in the ongoing fight against Covid-19 landed at Shannon Airport this afternoon. 

It is understood the cargo aircraft was carrying ventilators, as well as emergency beds, to be distributed to hospitals across the country and to boost medical equipment during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Qatar Airways, which is one of the biggest air cargo operators in the world, only resumed its cargo operations to China this week where it flies to six cities. 

In addition to its belly hold cargo planes, it has also increased capacity by using reconfigured passenger aircraft to respond to the increased global demand for medical supplies and other commodities in and out of China during the public health crisis.

The airline said the decision to re-establish cargo services to China on 30 March was to support worldwide connectivity.

It said it wanted to maintain the global supply chain, which includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid that is pivotal to the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the Chief Executive of the IDA said it is impossible to overstate the difficulty in ensuring that Personal Protective Equipment continues to flow into Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Martin Shanahan also said it is impossible to overstate the demand for PPE across the globe.

The IDA is one of the State organisations that has been asked to assist the HSE in a "chase around the world" for reagent, which is essential in the testing process for Covid-19. 

Mr Shanahan said there are "huge logistical issues in transporting anything at the moment".

He said discussions were ongoing on PPE production with companies in the pharma and medical device sectors.

Mr Shanahan said the IDA is making connections in order to secure reagents needs for Covid-19 testing, and he said it is his expectation that it will be made available by Irish-based companies for the Irish market, but he could not give a timeframe of when this would be ready for use.

In relation to the economic impact of Covid-19 on Irish companies, Mr Shanahan said it is not seeing permanent lay-offs coming within the multinational sector, but he said "depending on how long this phase lasts, that may change".

He added: "If we judge how the pandemic is moving from east to west, obviously that is the market that we derive most of our FDI from, the US is beginning to be impacted now, so this could go one for quite some time, and that will dictate what the outlook looks like."