COVID: Thousands More Military Personnel Put On Standby For Winter

Five thousand more personnel have been placed on standby as part of the Ministry of Defence's Winter Preparedness Package.

The number of military personnel on standby to assist with the coronavirus effort during winter has been increased from 7,500 to 12,500.

The move is part of the Winter Preparedness Package, assembling Armed Forces personnel who can be called upon for COVID-19 tasks.

It comes after Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Forces News last week that if the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was required to increase the number of troops, it would "happily do so".

Since 18 March, the MOD has responded to 237 COVID-19 Military Aid to Civilian Authority (MACA) requests.

As of Tuesday, 2,342 military personnel were committed to assisting with 42 ongoing MACA requests, including planning support for local authorities and helping with the national testing effort.

About 2,000 personnel have been deployed in Liverpool, supporting the mass testing pilot in the city.

About 2,000 personnel have been supporting a mass testing pilot in Liverpool (Picture: MOD).

Military personnel have also assisted with a Drop and Collect testing scheme in Birmingham.

The news comes after it was announced thousands of service personnel will be "on call" over the Christmas period

An MOD spokesperson said the Armed Forces will do "whatever is necessary to protect this country", from supporting the NHS and local communities to critical operations overseas.

The Health Secretary confirmed earlier this month that the Armed Forces and NHS had been placed on standby to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine from the start of December.

The military has conducted a number of tasks throughout the pandemic, including distributing PPE and helping to build the NHS Nightingale hospitals.