UK

Coronavirus: Commandos Run Mobile Testing Centres In Cornwall

Armed Forces personnel have received specialist training to run the testing units nationwide.

Members of the Royal Marines are managing two new coronavirus mobile testing units in Cornwall. 

The centres in Penzance and Bude were set up the Department of Health but are being run by the marines with the support of other military personnel. 

The unit in Bude is based in a car park and is being managed by 42 Commando Royal Marines, with the help of 29 Commando Regiment.

Those over the age of five and displaying symptoms of COVID-19 can book a test online.

Upon arrival, people are guided through each step of the testing procedure by the military personnel. 

Gunner Matthew Davies, from 29 Commando Regiment, told Forces News: "We're just teaching the people with a swab they get in the test, to stick it basically in their mouth, at the back of the throat, [near] each tonsil for 10 seconds, back of the throat and up their left nostril of their nose for 10 seconds as well."

The test is then sent off to be analysed, with results coming back within 24 to 48 hours. 

People arrive at the unit in their cars and complete the test inside their vehicles.

While contact with the individuals is limited, personnel do wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Armed Forces personnel have received specialist training to run the testing units nationwide.

Military personnel at Bude car park CORONAVIRUS COVID19 mobile testing unit 210520 CREDIT BFBS_0.jpg
The marines are carrying out up to 350 tests per day at the testing unit.

More sites across Cornwall are planned to open in the coming weeks.

Units like the one in Bude take 30 minutes to set up and can carry out around 350 tests per day.

"I think, in terms of actually having a rewarding job, this is probably as rewarding as it gets," said Lieutenant Bill Mann, 29 Commando Regiment.

"Everyone is sort of looking at the NHS and saying, 'the job they are doing is brilliant', and to sort of be a part of that is really rewarding."

The site in Bude is expected to remain open until after the bank holiday. 

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

The Armed Forces have played a leading role in response to the outbreak, with around 4,000 personnel deployed each day.

Cover image: Military personnel at coronavirus mobile testing unit in Bude, Cornwall.