Military Personnel Training Liverpool Care Home Staff To Do COVID Tests

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said the programme could mean care home residents can receive visits from relatives.

Personnel are training care home staff in Liverpool to carry out coronavirus tests, the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace said staff at care homes in the city will visit a testing centre to be trained in "how to administer these [COVID-19] tests".

The programme will mean that residents and relatives "can try and at least have some visits or indeed get back to normal".

Members of the Armed Forces are currently in Liverpool, supporting a mass coronavirus testing pilot.

On Friday, the city's mayor said the military had helped test 18% of Liverpool’s population in the scheme's first week.

About 2,000 personnel from across the Armed Forces are helping to offer tests to everyone in the city, regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms of the virus.

During a visit to the testing site at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, Mr Wallace said the Army will continue to help "as long as it is needed".

He said: "The roll out's been good, the soldiers have been welcomed, the public have come from all over the city.

"We'd like more people to come but some of that is a challenge for ourselves about (whether) we move or shift and go to other parts of other communities where we're not seeing a high uptake or do we do more to publicise it?

Soldiers from the King's Royal Hussars help with Liverpool's mass testing programme (Picture: MOD).

"I think that's a role for both public health and local authority to do alongside, but it's going in the right direction.

"People are turning up and within an hour they're getting a result for their test.

"That's a really important plank of getting on top of this which will be testing, tracing and then - hopefully sometime maybe before Christmas - vaccine."

Mr Wallace added the military will "certainly have a role" in the distribution of a future coronavirus vaccine.

He said: "I should think the Army will be involved in the logistics, I should think the Army will be involved in some of the planning and the command and control which goes on behind the scenes for all these events because I think that is the key.

"If necessary, the Armed Forces and RAF will be involved in bringing vaccines to the country."

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Armed Forces and the NHS are both on standby to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine from the start of December.

Mr Hancock also admitted that there are many hurdles to overcome before the "vast task" of vaccination can begin, including regulatory approval of a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and assessment of its safety data.

Cover image: Soldier inspects coronavirus testing equipment during Liverpool's mass testing pilot scheme (Picture: MOD).