British Army to assist in Covid-19 testing programme

2 November 2020 (Last Updated November 2nd, 2020 14:39)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has called in the British Army to assist in the nationwide Covid-19 testing programme.

British Army to assist in Covid-19 testing programme
Armed Forces assisted in delivering and collecting tests from homes in Birmingham. Credit: MOD Crown Copyright.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has called in the British Army to assist in the nationwide Covid-19 testing programme.

This follows the recent second wave of Covid-19 cases in the country, prompting officials to declare a second lockdown from 5 November to 2 December.

The UK reported over 23,000 cases on 1 November and the total number of cases exceeded one million in the country.

Several military planners deployed are partnering with the Local Resilience Forums and Partnerships and the Emergency Co-ordination Centres in Scotland and Wales.

They will provide an extra expert resource to aid the communities and businesses, as well as initiate tracing systems for Covid-19 cases.

Personnel from the military assigned to the civil authorities have helped in freeing the council resource. This permits the local authorities to enforce restrictions and focus on other essential areas.

Six Environmental Health Officers (EHO), who are deployed to Liverpool and Halton, are aiding the Resilience Forum and Halton Borough Council.

The personnel are trained for the management of outbreaks and can identify the data collected by the NHS Track and Trace call handlers, identify trends and infection clusters and sources.

Six planners in Lancashire are supporting the Local Resilience Forum, which aids the businesses and communities under Tier 3 restrictions. They are also assisting the tracing programme.

Scientists in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) are also supporting the programme by aiding, insights, and advice.

About 110 military personnel are already working with the Birmingham City Council to support the Drop and Collect testing initiative.

Additionally, the personnel supported Covid-19 testing in schools, as a part a trial carried out by Public Health England. The trial aimed to estimate the effectiveness of rapid antigen tests in schools.