Coronavirus: Army To Assist With Targeted Testing In Greater Manchester

Troops are also assisting in coronavirus testing efforts in South Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Kent.

The Army is to support targeted coronavirus testing in Greater Manchester.

From Monday, 800 troops deploying from nine Army regiments will begin assisting across all 10 local authority areas in the region to carry out asymptomatic testing of specific populations.

Those at higher risk of infection, such as social care staff and key workers, as well as those in high-risk environments, such as care homes and shared accommodation for the homeless, will be targeted.

It follows similar community testing in Liverpool, Lancashire, Medway, Kirklees and Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

The Armed Forces involvement was requested by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said 2021 will see "new levels of Armed Forces support" to overcome the pandemic, with personnel deployed "wherever they are needed".

"Manchester is the latest of those tasks and will be an important contribution to protecting the highest risk groups as the city seeks to recover," he said.

"As a North West MP, I am acutely aware of the considerable time many of us have been labouring under some form of lockdown and I hope our soldiers will help us get to the day when these restrictions will start to lift," he added.

RAF personnel in Merthyr Tydfil Wales deliver mass testing coronavirus covid 261120 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The community testing across Greater Manchester follows similar programmes in Liverpool, Lancashire, Medway and Kirklees and Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said the Armed Forces' response to the coronavirus pandemic has become the biggest homeland military operation in peacetime.

More than 5,000 military personnel are currently deployed on 70 different COVID-19 tasks.

Thousands more are supporting efforts through their day jobs in military planning, defence medical services, defence science and technology laboratories and elsewhere, the MOD added.

Cover image: Library photo of a soldier assisting with coronavirus duties in Kent (Picture: MOD).