Coronavirus: Mobile Test Units On The Road For The First Time

The idea was developed by the military, and it is expected more will be deployed imminently.


Four mobile coronavirus test units have on the road for the first time, having been born from an idea developed by the military.

It is hoped they will enable people living in hard-to-reach places, as well as care home residents, to have essential access to COVID-19 testing, during the pandemic.

It is expected more will be deployed imminently.

It follows an announcement by Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Sir Nick Carter, who said the logistics of the military’s COVID-19 response is the biggest challenge he has faced in his career.

General Sir Nick Carter told the daily coronavirus press conference at Downing Street: "First and foremost this has been a logistic task and I would say that I think in all of my more than 40 years of service this is the single greatest logistic challenge that I have come across."

He added he feels "immensely proud of our collective national effort in pulling together behind those on the frontline", to overcome a challenge which he said he believes "we will defeat together".

The work of the armed forces has played a large role in supporting the response to the crisis so far, transforming conference centres and exhibition halls into giant temporary hospitals, and supporting paramedics on the frontline where possible.

Personnel have also been working at drive-through testing facilities, and mobile testing units have now been deployed.

But what about 17,000 personnel still on standby under the COVID Support Force, which is formed of 20,000 servicemen and women at higher readiness, currently not tasked?

Forces News' Laura Makin-Isherwood asked Foreign Secretary, and First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, if a pool of very skilled people, who could help ease the load for the NHS, is being underutilised.

Watch: Skills of remaining personnel "not necessarily" the skills which are required at the moment.

Mr Raab said the Government wants to make sure resources are used in the "right way that complements and supplements the brilliant work of the NHS".

"Of course those are difficult decisions," he added.

"We’ve got to make sure that we deploy our resources where they add the greatest value and in the right way."

Downing Street has confirmed four mobile units are on the road today, but as the government aims to reach its 100,000 tests-a-day target by the end of the month, that number is expected to soon rise.

Cover image: Library picture of testing at Haydock Park (Picture: MOD).