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Following the Covid-inflicted cancellation of most of our events this year, as Bob says in the November newsletter:
“We will, at the earliest opportunity, formulate a programme for 2021 for you to enter into your diaries.”
COVID-19 in Defence – Tests, cases, plans
MoD has released (19 November) its latest fortnightly report on COVID-19 in Defence, showing a significant recent increase in positive tests.
As of 6 November, “a minimum of” 1,686 service personnel had tested positive, including 577 RN/RM/reserve; the previous report, at 23 October, noted 1,197 and 392 respectively.
In all, 51,881 tests had been administered across Defence, including 10,553 “Navy” (9,791 uniformed, 762 civilian) and 28,815 UK Strategic Command.
The report says:
“COVID-19 will be a defining feature of the Defence operating environment for the foreseeable future. As such, the Ministry of Defence has moved from the COVID Defence management plan to the COVID Defence recovery and response plan. This plan is to enable Defence to adapt to living with COVID-19 for an extended period and prepare and respond to changes in government guidance.”
As part of the national testing programme, armed forces personnel, MoD civilians and contractors are considered essential workers, and thus eligible for priority testing.
MoD contribution to coronavirus response – Update, 27 November
Since 18 March, MoD has responded to 252 COVID-19 Military Aid to Civilian Authority requests. As of 27 November, 2,932 service personnel were committed to assist with 54 open requests; an additional 14,000 were on standby, increased from a previous 7,500, as part of a Winter Preparedness Package.
The armed forces have deployed dozens of military planners across the UK, working with Local Resilience Forums and Partnerships, and Emergency Co-ordination Centres in Scotland and Wales, supporting local communities and businesses and rolling out tracing systems.
Environmental Health Officers are supporting the Merseyside Local Resilience Forum, interpreting information gathered by NHS Track and Trace to identify and map trends, clusters and sources of infection. Scientists based at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory are deployed in government departments, local resilience teams and military headquarters to provide assistance, insights and advice to planners and decision makers. In Liverpool, first site for the mass testing pilot, around 2,000 specially trained armed forces personnel are deployed to around 47 static testing sites. Service personnel are also involved in testing programmes in other areas, including Birmingham, Nottingham and Merthyr Tydfil.