United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense has recently announced that it plans to double the size of the military’s civil contingency unit. According to reports, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary has claimed that this decision was taken to create a 20,000 strong COVID support force. This means that an additional 10,000 troops will be added to the previous 10,000 that are routinely held at high readiness in case of civil emergency.
As per reports, the announcement was made by Ben Wallace on March 18. He also added that reservists may also have to be called upon. As per reports, there are mounting fears that the police and the National Health Service (NHS) will not be able to deal with the crisis, as both the police and NHS are already at full stretch.
Other countries have had to deploy the armed forces in order to enforce the lockdown and prevent looting, reports have indicated England is also preparing for such an eventuality. The Ministry of Defence also said that the COVID support force could be asked to do tasks like the driving of NHS oxygen tankers, for which 150 military personnel will begin training on March 23. It also added that scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) will be assisting with Public Health England’s effort to understand the virus and tackle the spread.
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has claimed more than 9,000 lives across the world and has infected over 2,20,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy and Iran are the other countries that are most affected by the virus outbreak.