The Ministry of Defence has released some details of how it plans to help the country in the fight against COVID-19.
As of 19th March, a total of 3,269 cases have been confirmed in the UK. New daily cases of the virus peaked at 676 on 18th March with 643 new cases being registered on 19th March.
However, because there is no community-based testing, the actual number of people suspected of being infected with the deadly virus is far higher.
Over 177 people have now died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, but this number is expected to increase vastly over the coming weeks.
Northwick Park Hospital in London is the first hospital in the UK to declare a ‘critical incident’ as its critical care capacity is reached.
But the military is now poised to help in the battle against COVID-19.
So far, the military has assisted with repatriation flights from China and Japan.
They are also providing specialist military planners to Local Resilience Forums who are providing support to public services, local authorities and emergency services in preparing their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yesterday, the MOD announced further preparation ready to support public services if required including:
- up to 10,000 personnel will be placed at a higher readiness, so they are able to assist with supporting public services. This is on top of the 10,000 already held at higher readiness.
- 150 military personnel will be trained to drive oxygen tankers in order to support the NHS if required. They will begin training on Monday.
- Measures have been taken to enable the call out of Reservists, should they be required to join the response effort
- scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are supporting Public Health England’s effort to understand the virus and tackle the spread.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including COVID-19. The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.
“From me downwards the entirety of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces are dedicated to getting the nation through this global pandemic”.
The Standing Joint Command will be the Command and Control Structure for the COVID Support Force, which represents the MOD’s contribution to the government response.
Major General Charlie Stickland Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff Operations and Commitments said:
“Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our Reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance.
“The COVID Support Force, potentially drawing upon our highly skilled scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole force effort to support the country during its time of need.
“Our servicemen and women are committed to maintain our operational output and delivering any support the government requires”.
Find us in the new Google News App – search for ‘Emergency Services News’ and then click on the ‘star’ symbol to follow ESN.
Our social media group/community is open to both the public and emergency services personnel.
It is also a great place to share any emergency services related content (such as videos) which you have filmed.
If you have a story or video that you would like us to cover/share, then you can contact our team via firstname.lastname@example.org
We also cover stories which relate to the NHS, the armed forces and the security services.
Before you go...
We need your help. As former emergency services & armed forces personnel, we pride ourselves on bringing you important, fast-moving and breaking news stories which are free from the negative bias which is often directed at the emergency services by some sections of the mainstream media.
One of the reasons we started 'Emergency Services News' was because we became tired of reading badly informed stories about the emergency services which seemed only ever to highlight negative aspects of the job.
We want to be the unheard voice of the remarkable men and women who serve in the emergency services, NHS and armed forces. And with around 500k page views each month, we are getting there!
As income from ads, the mainstay source of income for most publishers, continues to decline; we need the help of our readers.
And remember, if you have a service, product or job vacancy that you would like to promote to our large readership, then you can buy advertising space in our articles.
You can support emergency services news from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Every contribution, however big or small, is vital for our future.
Please help us to continue to highlight the life-saving work of the emergency services, NHS and armed forces by becoming a supporter.