Coronavirus: British Army puts 20,000 troops on standby to deal with pandemic crisis #COVID19 #coronavirus #UK #Army #Military #pandemic #quarantine

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As many as 150 troops are learning to drive oxygen tankers to supply hospitals treating coronavirus patients. They will form part of the new “Covid Support Force”

The Ministry of Defence has put 20,000 troops on standby to deal with the coronavirus crisis, it has been reported this evening.

As many as 150 troops are learning to drive oxygen tankers to supply hospitals, according to The Times.

The troops will form part of the new “Covid Support Force”.

Today the death toll in the UK reached 104 with that figure expected to rise in the coming days and weeks.

Defence Secretary Ben 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.”

Major General Charlie Stickland Assistance Chief of the Defence Staff Operations and Commitments said: “Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our Reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance.

“The COVID Support Force, potentially drawing upon our highly skilled scientists at Dstl or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole force effort to support the country during its time of need.

“Our servicemen and women are committed to maintain our operational output and delivering any support the Government requires.”

The news comes hours after it is said that government officials are braced for coronavirus “lockdown” measures to be ramped up in London within days.

Boris Johnson tonight did not rule out putting London on lockdown – and said “further and faster measures” may be needed.

Whitehall sources today told the Mirror lockdown-style measures in London – which Boris Johnson admitted is “a few weeks ahead” of the rest of the country – are “imminent”.

A senior Downing Street source vehemently denied anything had been decided.

Britain’s government set out emergency legislation on Tuesday to tackle the growing outbreak, with measures including giving powers to police andimmigration officers to detain people and put them in isolation to protect public health.

“The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness,” health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.

The legislation, which also includes measures to allow recently retired National Health Service staff and social workers to return to work, will be brought before parliament tomorrow.

Courtesy of mirror.co.uk

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