Coronavirus

COVID: Record Number Of Personnel Part Of Response

More than 5,000 members of the Armed Forces are committed to coronavirus operations.

The number of Armed Forces personnel committed to COVID-19 operations has hit a record high, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said.

A total of 5,300 servicemen and women are currently committed to assist with winter and coronavirus tasks.

They are supporting 56 different operations across the United Kingdom and abroad.

The Armed Forces are involved in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccines, as well as supporting the NHS and carrying out community testing across the UK.

"Our country faces an unprecedented challenge and our Armed Forces are working hand in hand with the NHS," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

He added: "The sheer scope of the work undertaken by our Armed Forces, both in the UK and overseas, is a real testament to their resilience and willingness to be there when our country needs it."

The Armed Forces’ response to the coronavirus pandemic is the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the British military.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said: "We all have a role to play in supporting those on the frontline in the fight against the virus."

Gen Sir Nick also said the Armed Forces are "proud" to do everything possible to provide "expertise wherever it is most needed".

Military personnel at Ashton Gate help with COVID19 coronavirus response DATE UNKNOWN used on 120121 CREDIT MOD.jpg
Military personnel have been supporting the country's coronavirus response (Picture: MOD).

Shadow defence secretary John Healey, however, has said the Government has been "too slow" to mobilise the Armed Forces following the coronavirus pandemic.

British military personnel have been a key part of the UK's COVID-19 response throughout 2020 and into the new year, with the Armed Forces now engaged in a major role over the winter months.

About 50 military medics are committed to hospitals in Kent and Essex to help with increasing demand.

Also in Essex, Combat Medic Technicians (CMTs) are supporting a facility for those who are recovering from COVID-19.

A further 1,600 military medical professionals are supporting the NHS on a daily basis, providing their skills in a variety of roles ranging from intensive care support to specialist surgeons. 

Recently, hundreds of personnel from the British Army responded to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s request to support targeted testing of specific parts of the population.

More than 2,155 servicemen and women are also deployed on community testing tasks across the county.

The Armed Forces are also playing a key role in helping with ongoing haulier testing, with 515 personnel operating 30 testing sites across the country.

A military team is also supporting the management and logistics at the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London.

Members of British military help with Op Rose haulier testing DATE UNKNOWN used on 120121 CREDIT MOD.jpg
Members of the Armed Forces are also supporting the ongoing COVID-19 haulier testing operations (Picture: MOD).

They have also committed more than 300 personnel to support the rollout of the vaccine programme in England and an additional 90 personnel are currently in Wales administering the vaccines.

The majority of the support in England is made up of the Vaccine Quick Reaction Force (VQRF). It consists of 21 teams of six personnel assigned to the seven NHS England regions.

They can provide surge support to the rollout if required by local health authorities and they can administer the vaccines if directly asked by the NHS.

They have also assisted in testing across 36 schools and colleges to ensure staff and vulnerable children, as well as children of key workers, can continue their education.

Military planners and liaison officers are also embedded in local authorities, Government departments and the devolved nations, proving planning advice.

Cover image: A library image of military personnel helping with the COVID-19 response in Derbyshire (Picture: MOD).