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Over 5,000 UK armed forces deployed in support of COVID-19 response

Christian Fernsby |
Over 5,000 UK Armed Forces personnel are currently deployed to support the response to the Coronavirus across the UK, working on 70 different tasks ranging from schools testing to the rollout of vaccines.

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Thousands more are supporting efforts through their day jobs in military planning, Defence Medical Services, Defence Science and Technology Laboratories and elsewhere.

More military personnel are being deployed to support community testing in:

Manchester: 800 personnel providing community testing support to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Kent: 390 personnel will support community testing

Swadlincote, Derbyshire: 130 personnel to establish and operate four lateral flow testing sites

Kirklees, Yorkshire: 75 personnel to establish and operate four lateral flow testing sites

Lancashire: 420 personnel to support asymptomatic testing.

In Manchester today (4 January) another large scale task starts, with 800 personnel deploying from nine regiments across the British Army at the request of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), through the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

These personnel will prepare to work across all ten local authority areas of Greater Manchester to carry out targeted asymptomatic testing of specific populations that may be at a higher risk of infection including social care staff, key workers, public facing occupations such as bus drivers, and those in high risk environments such care homes and shared accommodation for the homeless.

The task builds on lessons from previous asymptomatic community testing in Liverpool, Lancashire, Merthyr Tydfil, Medway, and Kirklees.

In addition to community testing, military personnel remain on-task testing hauliers in Dover and helping to establish ten new testing sites to improve the flow of traffic across the Channel.

As of today, 515 personnel are on task in Kent and elsewhere providing testing to hauliers.

1,500 armed forces personnel have also been provided to support schools testing, with local response teams providing virtual support and phone advice to institutions.

Personnel also on standby to deploy at short notice to provide in-person support.

Testing will continue as planned with two rapid Lateral Flow Tests available to all secondary school and college students and staff at the start of term to identify asymptomatic cases, break chains of transmission and beat the virus.

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