COVID: Boris Johnson Praises Military's 'Fantastic Support'

During a briefing, the Prime Minister was joined by the commander of the mass coronavirus testing force in Liverpool.

The Prime Minister has thanked the British military for its "fantastic support" in the setting up of coronavirus testing in Liverpool.

Several thousand UK personnel began helping with the rollout of a mass COVID-19 testing pilot in the city last week, including rapid turnaround 'lateral flow' tests.

Servicemen and women from the British Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force are all helping with the logistics and delivery of the programme.

Liverpool City Council has encouraged people without coronavirus symptoms to visit the rapid turnaround sites, while asking those with symptoms to visit other testing centres.

Boris Johnson was speaking during a briefing, where he was joined by the commander of the mass coronavirus testing force in Liverpool.

Brigadier Joe Fossey spoke about the role personnel have played "to prove the concept of rapid testing", and also talked through the device which allows for quicker test results to be provided.

"Over 2,000 troops have answered the call to help Liverpool tackle COVID-19 by setting up a number of testing sites in the city," he said.

"To date, we have established 19 sites and we are working hard with the authorities to deliver more each day."

Watch: Brigadier Joe Fossey talks through the lateral flow test.

Brig Fossey then went on to give a visual demonstration of a lateral flow device, a two-inch piece of plastic which is being used during tests in Liverpool.

It is the piece of equipment that helps offer a quicker test result.

He described them as "very simple to use", adding that anyone who takes the test goes into an enclosed booth, and inserts a swab into their mouth and nose, before handing it back to a soldier who will complete the test.

"I have taken one this morning to make sure I was COVID-free," the testing force commander continued.

"The test returns results within the hour, without the need to be sent to a lab.

"You will receive a message by email or text with your result.

"These lateral flow tests offer the chance for more reg and rapid testing."

Around 7,500 servicemen and women make up the Winter Support Force, which has been formed to help authorities deal with COVID-19 in the coming months.

More than 4,000 personnel were deployed at any one time earlier this year, as part of the COVID Support Force, responding to Military Aid to Civilian Authority (MACA) requests.

Cover image: MOD.