Staff at Royal Navy's HMS Sultan raise concerns about Covid-19 precautions as training resumes

A ROYAL Navy training base in Gosport is preparing for recruits to resume in-person teaching after their Christmas break – but some staff members are concerned about the Covid-19 precautions in place.

Saturday, 9th January 2021, 7:00 am

The Gosport shore base, which is the Royal Navy’s primary engineering hub, is set to resume training on Monday.

The Royal Navy says personnel that can work from home have been directed to do so, and those who live on the base face the same travel restrictions as the general public.

But some staff – especially older members in their 50s and 60s – are concerned that the majority of lessons will resume in-person and will do so without quarantine or testing measures, according to one staff member.

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The west gate at HMS Sultan in Gosport before the pandemic. Stock Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The civilian instructor, who asked not to be named, said: ‘If Portsmouth’s university and schools are closed, how can the powers that be think it’s safe to train here?

‘Every class that was planned before this lockdown is going ahead next week.

‘The general consensus is what the hell are they doing here.

‘I'm a bit miffed.

‘There’s a risk of burdening Queen Alexandra Hospital with even more cases.’

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It comes as schools, colleges, and universities across the country have cancelled in-person teaching due to the third national lockdown.

During the first national lockdown last spring, the majority of lessons at HMS Sultan were paused or conducted online.

The instructor added: ‘If we couldn't keep ourselves safe in March - how can we keep ourselves safe now?

‘All I’m asking for at the end of the day is for them to go one step further.

‘The base could impose a two-week isolation period.’

HMS Sultan was approached by The News to comment on the quarantine and testing measures in place, with a spokeswoman saying that ‘plenty of resilience measures’ were being taken to keep staff and recruits safe.

The spokeswoman said: ‘What is important for the public to know is that we have plenty of resilience measures in place to protect our people while they carry out essential duties, and personnel held at varying degrees of readiness that we can call on should there be absences.

‘The armed forces must be ready to support both the national effort in combating Covid-19 and to ensure that we can continue operations as well as other essential tasks to protect the nation and preserve national security.

‘The Royal Navy and HMS Sultan take the threat of Covid-19 very seriously and are following all current Public Health England and government guidance.’

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