BORIS Johnson’s Government has been urged to provide “full transparency” over why it failed to participate in EU-wide efforts to source vital ventilators for coronavirus patients.

The UK Government has come under fire for missing opportunities to acquire the life-saving equipment, with Brussels ridiculing the UK’s claim it had failed to take part due to a “communications mix-up”.

Yesterday it was reported US President Donald Trump claimed Johnson revealed his fears over a lack of ventilators in a phone call, saying: “Before he even said hello, he said ‘we need ventilators’.”

Last week Downing Street initially claimed it did not take part in the EU procurement scheme because the UK was “no longer a member”.

After criticisms it was prioritising “Brexit over breathing”, it then blamed an error – said to be the failure to receive an email – for missing the deadline and that it would consider participating in future.

However the EU later rejected this claim, saying the UK had been fully briefed on the plans.

Dr Philippa Whitford, the SNP’s shadow health spokesperson at Westminster, called for “absolute transparency” from the UK Government over why it did not take part in EU procurement of ventilators and other critical supplies.

She said this should include “how the decision was taken, what the reasoning was and whether the devolved governments had any say in the matter”.

She added: “The coronavirus pandemic does not recognise borders or ideology and it is vital that the UK Government does not turn its back on collaboration to tackle this virus and to protect our citizens.

“The UK Government has been working well with the devolved governments across the UK, but co-operation with our EU neighbours, particularly in sourcing vital supplies, should be welcomed and engaged with – not shunned.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is concerning that the UK Government is not participating in the EU joint procurement exercise for ventilators, despite it being open to non-EU countries.

“We have made clear our intention to quadruple intensive care capacity across Scotland, and our work to increase the number of available ventilators is part of that.

“We have ordered ventilators from a range of manufacturers that are due to come to Scotland over the coming weeks and we are continuing to push manufacturers on their delivery timescales.

“In addition we’re participating in joint procurement with the health services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for further ventilators.”

ACROSS the UK, the number of people who died after contracting Covid-19 reached a grim milestone yesterday as it passed 1000 – the biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began.

An increase of 260 deaths means the total is now standing at 1019.

Johnson is having to lead the response to the pandemic from isolation in Downing Street after he was diagnosed with the disease.

He has been accused of failing to follow his own social distancing rules after Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive and England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty began self-isolating with symptoms.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England said “we will have done very well” if deaths could be kept below 20,000.