Service personnel and reservists on standby
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced new measures to put service personnel and reservists on standby to support public services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The measures form part of prudent contingency planning to respond in a timely way to any request from other governments departments or civil authorities for support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The military are already providing specialist 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.
The new announcement means that 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. Furthermore, 150 military personnel will be trained to drive oxygen tankers in order to support the NHS if required. They will begin training on 23 March.
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.”