Thousands Of Armed Forces Personnel 'On Call' Over Christmas

It comes as the military continues to assist with the country's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of military personnel will be "on call" during the Christmas period, a Ministry of Defence (MOD) spokesperson has said. 

The 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.

It comes after a report in The Times claimed Christmas leave for 10,000 troops may be interrupted or postponed as taskings increase amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The MOD said no individual will lose their annual leave entitlement and that most personnel will be able to leave barracks or their place of work, but will remain on call if required.

An MOD spokesperson said: "Thousands of public servants from the emergency services, the NHS, the Armed Forces, and local government around the country will be on call this Christmas."

Each commanding officer will be able to make arrangements to suit their people and any potential tasking, the MOD added.

"Winter Support Force", made up of 7,500 military personnel, has been set up to help authorities deal with COVID-19 in the coming months.

Earlier in November, thousands of military personnel started supporting a mass coronavirus testing pilot in Liverpool, including the roll out of quick turnaround tests.

The Armed Forces have since been asked to extend their support for the scheme.