Serviceman in Greater Manchester prepares to support with one of the last few tests in the region after 7 weeks of testing covid coronavirus 260221 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Coronavirus

COVID: Personnel Hand Over Testing Duties In Greater Manchester

Service personnel have administered the final coronavirus tests and local authorities are now in charge of the programme.

Serviceman in Greater Manchester prepares to support with one of the last few tests in the region after 7 weeks of testing covid coronavirus 260221 CREDIT BFBS.jpg

Military personnel in Greater Manchester have carried out their final day of COVID-19 testing as Operation Rescript is drawn down in the North West.

The servicemen and women have delivered hundreds of thousands of lateral flow tests since starting last month.

Testing responsibilities have now been handed over to the local authorities after they received training from service personnel.

"It's not [the service personnel's] natural territory, but I think they've been exceptional," Alex Evans, from the new COVID testing team, told Forces News.

Laura Hobbs, Trafford Council COVID-19 Programme Lead, said it has been "a real honour" to work alongside the military.

She said: "From a planning perspective, I think, having that learn from the military in terms of how they handle situations, how they do things and what we need to do to make sure that we've got just as good an operation when we take over next week, has been really helpful for me."

Colonel Dave Macaulay, Joint Resilience Liaison Officer, said it has been "an absolute pleasure to make a contribution in this really testing time".

He added: "The contribution that we've made is significant and so, personally, I'm really delighted with how it's gone and I know that the local authorities are really grateful."

Military personnel in Eccles Town Hall in Greater Manchester prepare to deliver covid coronavirus mass testing 120121 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Military personnel arrived in Greater Manchester nearly two months ago to deliver coronavirus testing.

The military's response to the pandemic has ranged from Quick Reaction Vaccination Force teams to driving ambulances, overseas vaccine deliveries and the testing of pupils.

Gradually, responsibilities are being passed to civil authorities.

Military support still remains in place in 62 locations, with 268 taskings having now been closed.

About 3,500 personnel are currently deployed on COVID-19 duties, 10% of them being reservists and a further 1,200 personnel are on standby.

An additional 5,000 are involved in the response through regular duties such as defence medical services, laboratories, equipment and support.

Some servicemen and women are still providing occasional assistance in the North West, including helping to administer vaccinations.