Exercises

Coronavirus: Measures Put In Place For UK Troops On NATO Exercise

British troops are continuing their deployment to Norway on Exercise Cold Response but new measures have been put in place.

A NATO exercise in Norway involving around 2,000 British personnel is taking measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Finland pulled out of Exercise Cold Response because of coronavirus but at this stage, there are no plans to cancel it. 

The Norwegian bases in Bardufoss have shut some of its gyms and in some dining halls, the chairs are spaced one metre apart in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Speaking to Forces News in Norway, Major General Matt Holmes, Commandant General Royal Marines, said they are following the advice of the Government. 

"The troops are in the field - they are in the best place, rather than massing into infrastructure," Maj Gen Holmes said.

"We are carrying on with normal business but operating inside the guidelines provided by the authorities."

Royal Marines on Exercise Cold Response 280220 CREDIT MOD
Royal Marines parachute on Exercise Cold Response (Picture: MOD).

Just 30 miles away from the exercise at a military base in Skjold, around 150 Norwegian troops are in quarantine. 

Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, told Forces News: "If we cancelled the exercise, you will have people gathering in public places and then there is a greater risk that if someone has the virus, that it will spread to society.

"It's much better having the troops dispersed, out in the mountains and in the woods."

Officers say they are continuing to monitor the situation closely.