The British Army have been sent in to care homes to help assist with testing suspected coronavirus patients over fears thousands could be infected.
General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of Defence Staff, said the Armed Forces are finding new ways to test people in remote areas, with plans for “pop-up” testing centres.
General Carter said the military are supporting “the heroic health workers on the frontline.”
Adding, “for once, we are not on the frontline.”
3,000 military personnel are helping frontline services, helping the ambulance services, and delivering ventilators and PPE to hospitals.
General Sir Nick Carter said, “We are also increasingly involved in the government’s testing programme, partly in terms of the planning and all that goes with that, but also in terms of thinking of ways in which the testing can be rolled out to isolated communities, and indeed, perhaps in the future to care homes.
“The idea of sort of pop ups, like mobile libraries that are able to get out and touch the community more closely, are the sorts of things that are in development at the moment and the military is involved in trying to construct that and to create prototypes that perhaps could then be let out to industry in short order.”
Around 13,000 military personnel are self-isolating and less than 100 have been tested positive for coronavirus.
General Sir Nick Carter added, “We’ve seen as trying to help with the delivery of oxygen, and of course with ventilators.
“A lot of that is about providing planning capability and additional resilience to very hard-working organisations, who don’t necessarily have that resilience.
“But it’s also that some of our proven skills like construction, engineering and letting of contracts, and you see that vividly through the Nightingale project, where a number of hospitals, as the Secretary of State alluded to, have now been opened.
“Indeed, if we needed to, I think probably around an extra 10,000 beds could be generated in that way.
“You see that also what we’re doing in terms of driving ambulances, and of course the aviation Task Force is available throughout the country for cases that need to be moved urgently and from distance to proper medical and clinical care.”