This involves the response in the UK to COVID-19. Ten thousand extra personnel have been put on higher readiness in response to the outbreak, joining around 10,000 more who are already on standby to assist with terror attacks and other emergencies. This ‘COVID Support Force’, which includes reservists as well as regulars, will respond to requests for assistance from public services and civilian authorities. Around 150 members of the force will undergo training to drive oxygen tankers, in case the National Health Service (NHS) calls upon their support.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has also offered the NHS unused ventilators, to help meet rising demand. Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down are also supporting Public Health England in work to understand the virus and tackle the spread. A number of British military personnel are leaving Iraq to redeploy back to the UK.
British military efforts in response to COVID-19 overseas falls under Op Broadshare. This could include repatriation and rescue missions for civilians. The operation also includes support for overseas territories such as Akrotiri and Dhekelia, where three members of British Forces Cyprus have now been diagnosed with coronavirus. Armed Forces abroad have already seen several exercises cancelled until further notice, such as Exercise Cold Response in Norway and personnel in Germany.