Coronavirus: Britain to mobilise 3,000 reservists to tackle Covid-19 crisis

THE government is to mobilise 3,000 reservist troops to help tackle the coronavirus crisis, it has tonight been announced.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 8:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 8:54 pm
Reservists from the 4th Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment - which has a base in Cosham - on exercise in Denmark Soldiers from 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (4 PWRR) have been taking part in Exercise Viking Star, which is a reciprocal, joint exercise with the Danish Army. Approximately 100 Reservists from across the South of England have deployed to Denmark to train and exercise as part of the multinational force whilst building strong bonds, a positive reputation amongst our allies and remaining combat ready and adaptable. Elements of the exercise include, Section and Platoon Attacks, Live Fire Ranges using UK and Danish Weapons and operating in built up areas (OBUA training) using a purpose built village and simulation ammunition (high powered paint filled rounds) they also practice patrolling, training for their battalion specialist patrol and reconnaissance teams and cultural familiarity. Photographer: Corporal Ben Beale/ MoD Crown

Only part-time soldiers, sailors and airmen ‘with specialist skills’ that meet ‘specific requests for help’ from other government departments are being called up at the moment, Whitehall said.

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No-one already working for the NHS or delivering front line services will be mobilised to make sure these key workers can continue their with critical efforts

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However, those who are called upon will initially be mobilised for six months, with this being kept under review.

James Heappey, armed forces minister, said: ‘Our reservists are a truly remarkable group of people; each with their own skills and experience from their civilian careers beyond the armed forces.

‘At times like these, to be able to draw on that pool of talent and expertise is invaluable.

‘I know that our reservists will answer the nation’s call with real enthusiasm and will play a key part in our response to Covid-19.’

It is expected that reservists will be used in a range of roles, such as providing additional medical and logistical support for the NHS, acting as liaison officers and deploying specialist skills such as engineering and accounting.

Portsmouth has a hub of military reserve bases, from army sites based in Hilsea and Cosham, to the navy’s reserve unit, HMS King Alfred, on Whale Island.

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