Army

Coronavirus: Military Run Mobile Testing Unit In Hyde Park

The military is running more than 90 mobile coronavirus testing units across the UK.

Members of the Armed Forces are running a mobile coronavirus testing unit in Westminster's Hyde Park.

The site was opened last week and is one of eight currently being manned by the Grenadier Guards across London. 

Twelve soldiers from the regiment are working on the site which took 20 minutes to assemble and can carry out up to 300 COVID-19 tests per day. 

Leader of Westminster City Council, Rachael Robathan, said it was "fantastic" to have the support of the Army, adding their work was "really important". 

"Before this site, our key workers were being told they had to travel for almost an hour to be tested," she told Forces News.

"To have it right here, in the heart of Westminster, is really important because people, if they suspect they have the illness, they don’t want to have to travel for a long distance.

"To have the Army delivering this right here, in the middle of the borough, is very important for us."

The military is running more than 90 mobile coronavirus testing units across the UK.

Contact between the personnel and individuals at the site is minimal - communication is done over the phone and the test is carried out inside people's cars.

Drummer Lewys Boon, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, told Forces News: "It's very different, obviously we go from firing weapons, doing military tactics and stuff like that..to helping do people stuff that we're not quite used to. 

"It was a surprise but I was very happy to do it, to do my bit to help the NHS.

"But also to say that I actually did something during the coronavirus - instead of just sit at home and do nothing."

At the end of the day, the tests carried out at the unit are then sent off to laboratories and the results are available within 48 hours.

The Armed Forces continue to play a key role in the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty thousand military personnel have been on standby throughout the crisis as part of the COVID Support Force.