Cyprus

Cyprus: How Troops Are Carrying Out Peacekeeping Duties Amid COVID-19

British personnel are continuing to work on Operation Tosca while Cyprus is in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

British troops deployed on the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus are taking a number of measures to stop the potential spread of coronavirus.

Soldiers from 27 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps are continuing to patrol the buffer zone that divides the island, although a number of steps, including disinfecting vehicles and social distancing, are in place.

"We still have to get out on patrol," Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Darren Fisher told Forces News.

"We just have to make sure we disinfect the vehicle before and after use.

"We are reducing vehicle usage so that we don't have to get out at petrol stations so often or take the vehicle to the garage if there is any repair [required]."

The troops have been deployed on Operation Tosca for the last six months and will soon be replaced by personnel from 7 Rifles.

The soldiers are currently spending 14 days in self-isolation before they take over. 

The move follows rules brought in by the Republic of Cyprus earlier this month. 

27 Regiment RLC sign in Cyprus Op Tosca 020420 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The regiment is reducing vehicle usage amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lt Col Fisher said the measure is to ensure they are "not introducing the virus into the mission".

As a result of the pandemic, the barracks used by UN troops on Op Tosca have also been isolated.

Social distancing measures, similar to those in the UK, mean soldiers are staying two metres apart at all times.

Lt Col Fisher said: "Our only interaction with civilians is [with] migrants in the buffer zone."

So far, no soldiers from 27 Regiment RLC have tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, the Sovereign Base Areas announced the "suspension of all but essential operational and business activity".