British Army deployed in four nations to support Covid-19 response efforts

25 January 2021 (Last Updated January 25th, 2021 10:50)

British Army personnel are currently deployed across all four nations of the UK to support Covid-19 response efforts.

British Army deployed in four nations to support Covid-19 response efforts
Vaccine quick reaction force teams are supporting the NHS to roll out the vaccine across England. Credit: Crown copyright.

British Army personnel are currently deployed across all four nations of the UK to support Covid-19 response efforts.

Overall, more than 5,000 troops are deployed in one of the largest peacetime resilience operations to support testing, vaccination and clinical support efforts by the National Health Service (NHS).

The government has extended the national lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus as the Covid-19 toll nears 100,000.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Defence medics are now deployed on the homefront in the highest numbers during peacetime, supporting the NHS in testing, vaccinating, and hospitals.

“Earlier this week, I spoke with armed forces personnel deployed in all four corners of the United Kingdom, helping communities across the country to combat the effects of this virus. They are working hard alongside colleagues in the NHS and local authorities, but are ready to do more if and when the call comes.”

Currently, 20 Vaccine Quick Reaction Force teams are operating while an additional 21 units are on stand-by.

The British Army is also assisting to establish new Covid-19 vaccination centres across Scotland.

An additional 800 defence medics will join another 1,600 already working within the NHS to provide vital care to patients.

Around 2,400 personnel are supporting community testing programmes across England.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Everyone can play a part in our fight against the virus and I’m grateful to the extraordinary efforts of our armed forces who are doing their bit to help deliver the biggest medical deployment this country has ever seen.

“Working alongside our healthcare heroes and local partners, they will help support the rollout of the vaccine as quickly as possible across the UK.”

The government aims to offer a vaccine to the most vulnerable groups by 15 February.