20K British Troops on standby as UK Prepares for Lockdown

The British Army has placed 20K troops on standby to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The support forms part of a Covid-19 support force, the Army has announced that a further 10K will be added to an already 10K that are already on what is called higher readiness in the event of a civil emergency.

Thousands of troops are now being flown back to the UK to support the efforts to those in the NHS and Police.

However should the country be placed into lockdown they will be used to help the police keep the peace.

Speaking about the drastic move, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the country’s armed forces were dedicated to protecting British citizens.

He 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, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, 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 or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole force effort to support the country.”

This comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged all people who have one of the two main first symptoms of the infection – a new persistent cough and a fever – to stay at home for 14 days.

At the first of his daily coronavirus updates, Mr Johnson advised that people should work from home wherever possible. He added later that social venues such as pubs and theatres should not be visited.

He said: “Without drastic action, cases could double every five or six days.”

Recognising that the country is on the brink of the coronavirus bringing unprecedented upheaval to the UK, he also said: “Now is the time to stop all non-essential contact with others and all non-essential travel.”