Coronavirus: Personnel Run Mobile Testing Unit In Gloucester

Within its first five days of operation, 800 people were tested at the facility.

Military personnel are using a sports club car park in Gloucester as a mobile coronavirus testing centre.

A dozen soldiers from C Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, have spent two days on the site, delivering testing kits to hundreds of people.

Within the centre's first five days of operations, 800 people were tested.

Based at Tidworth, The Royal Welsh soldiers have conducted tests across the south-west for the last 8 weeks, alongside marines from 42 Commando.

Warrant Officer Class One Gavin Paton, Army Sergeant Major, said: “I always say to the Army that it’s junior NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and private soldiers that deliver victory on the battlefield for our commanders.

"And on this battlefield here today, in Gloucester, they’re absolutely delivering, it’s fantastic.

“When I joined the Army 23 years ago, I’ve done a lot of things which I never thought I’d do, but this has gone up another level.”

A dozen of soldiers from The Royal Welsh have been working on the site over the last two days.

The centre is one of 92 mobile testing units across the country. 

Boris Johnson has pledged to reach 200,000 coronavirus tests every day by the end of the month.

However, despite the use of mobile units such as the Gloucester site, testing has not been consistently maintained at 100,000 tests per day.

The soldiers are seeing up to 270 people each day, and for many, it is the biggest peacetime operation they have been involved in.

Fusilier William Peach, 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, said: “We got told to imagine that everyone that’s coming through, we treat them like they’re our own family.”

The testing kit packets are taken back to Bristol each evening to be analysed.

Care home nurse Violet told Forces News she has done three tests.

“This is my third one," she said.

"The last two the results were unclear, so I don’t know what that means, they haven’t explained to me whether that means, I don’t know whether I am positive or not.”

There are currently just under 3,800 military personnel deployed on COVID-19 duties nationwide.

The Government says it is scaling back the size of the military COVID Support Force which has coordinated a range of tasks throughout the pandemic.

Its size will be cut from 20,000 personnel, who have been on high-readiness since March, to a force of 7,500.