Army hands over mobile Covid tests to ambulance service

Since April, soldiers have conducted 100,000 coronavirus tests around Scotland, including 773 in a single day.

Mobile testing units run by the army during the coronavirus pandemic are being officially handed over to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Since late April, soldiers have conducted 100,000 Covid-19 tests in communities around Scotland as part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s UK-wide testing programme.

The highest number of people tested at an army-run Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) on one day was 773.

The army said the soldiers’ work has been instrumental in maintaining the safety of communities across Scotland, as part of the integrated response to coronavirus.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said the MTUs have been “vital” in helping people in Scotland be tested, reaching some of the country’s most remote and rural areas.

He said: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic the men and women of the UK’s Armed Forces have worked tirelessly to support our response to tackle the virus.”

He added: “I would like to thank all the troops who have worked so hard to run the units for the past few months. We are all very grateful for their work.

“The UK Government is boosting Covid testing capacity in Scotland. This includes providing six drive through sites, the Lighthouse mega-lab in Glasgow and the opening of the walk-in testing site in St Andrews. This is on top of testing capacity provided by the Scottish Government”.

As part of the transition, soldiers and ambulance staff have been working together for the last week to ensure a smooth handover later on Monday.

The army said that at peak times, 18 MTUs were deployed.

They were each crewed by 12 staff and all soldiers deployed to the MTUs were fully trained Infantry, Engineers and Royal Armoured Corps personnel.

Some of the MTU staff have been Army reservists, mobilised at the start of the pandemic restrictions.

They will now be going back to their civilian jobs and their regular army colleagues will return to their units and their operational military roles.

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