Armed Forces take coronavirus testing to frontline workers


Mobile testing units, operated by the Armed Forces, will travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing.


The government’s objective is to deploy 96 mobile testing units during the month of May – 92 will be staffed by the Armed Forces and a further 4, located in Northern Ireland, will be operated by civilian contractors.


  • Units will respond to areas of highest demand, travelling to test frontline workers and the most vulnerable at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons.
  • The new units will work alongside the country’s drive-through test sites, sending patient samples to the network of Lighthouse Labs, to rapidly increase the number of tests done each day.


New mobile sites will travel to frontline workers in places including:


  • Care homes.
  • Police stations.
  • Prisons.
  • Benefits centres.
  • Fire and rescue services.


Testing Minister Lord Bethell said:


“Everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one. New mobile testing units will travel the country to provide vital frontline workers with tests so those testing negative to safely return to work.


“We have built up capacity in the system with new testing facilities backed by Britain’s world-class scientists and industry partners. This means more workers can know if they have coronavirus if they have been demonstrating symptoms.


“Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus. We now have the ability to provide more people with the certainty they need to get back to the front line when it is safe to do so.”


Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:


“Our Armed Forces will help deliver testing to where it’s most needed, using a network of up to 96 mobile units that will be rolled out in the coming weeks. They will make sure our care sector get the testing required to remain in the frontline of the fight against this pandemic.”


National Testing Coordinator John Newton said:


“Across the country, we are creating new infrastructure to rapidly increase our capacity to test for coronavirus. New mobile testing units will help us achieve our goal of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day, providing tests to vital frontline workers wherever they need them.


“In a matter of weeks, we have worked with Britain’s leading scientists, academics and industry partners to build scores of new testing facilities and Britain’s largest network of diagnostic labs in history. Each day we are delivering more coronavirus tests, and allowing more frontline staff testing negative for the virus to safely return to work.



This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.



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