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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

3,000 members of the armed forces will be deployed to intensify the Covid-19 tests

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The capacity of the UK mobile test unit needs to be enhanced by the increased deployment of armed forces personnel during the Covid-19 epidemic.

140 additional vehicles from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) will be made available throughout the country, bringing the number of mobile test units to 236, compared to 96 at the end of April.

Another 1,763 members of the armed forces will be responsible for providing support to the units.

According to the Department of Defense (MoD), this will represent the largest deployment of personnel in support of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, with a total of 2,918 involved.

The increase in support will take place over several weeks, the Defense Ministry said.

To date, military personnel have employed 1,053 mobile test unit sites, which has resulted in more than 500,000 tests.

The Defense Ministry said staff also helped deliver home test kits to nursing homes and operate regional test sites before handing them over to commercial operators.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Testing is at the heart of the coronavirus strategy.

“The British Armed Forces have played a vital role in ensuring that key workers and the most vulnerable can access these tests where and when they need them most.

“Our troops will continue to provide support, wherever possible and for as long as necessary, to protect the British people while the lockdown measures are adjusted.”

The mobile facilities, which can be set up in less than 20 minutes, allow testing the ability to reach across the UK, especially remote locations.

Armed forces personnel collect swabs from mobile sites, which are then sent to laboratories for processing.

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