The independent London newspaper

Soldiers brought in for park virus tests

Grenadier Guards provide support to mobile unit, amid warning that pandemic is far from over

22 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot

SOLDIERS from the Grenadier Guards have been supporting a mobile testing unit in Hyde Park.

The Hyde Park centre is where people from Westminster are going to get tested for Covid-19 after booking through the government website.

The Guards are providing 96 soldiers to mobile testing units across London.

They have been trained to handle and administer the kits and are now able to process hundreds of tests every day.

Drummer Boon, aged 19 from Northampton, who forms part of the team at the Hyde Park mobile testing unit said: “It’s great to know that the work we are doing is being appreciated.

“The public reaction has been fantastic, and I am just pleased to be able to do my bit in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Brigadier Andrew Wright, deputy commander of joint military command London which is administering the military’s Covid-19 response in the capital, added: “The army is founded on the excellence of its people; who we select, train and nurture to be resilient, utterly professional and highly adaptable.

“Those qualities are key in our normal operational roles, be it maintaining the peace in the trouble spots of the world or mounting guard at Buckingham Palace.

“They are also invaluable when we are asked to support the efforts of the civil authorities in times of need, as we are all proud to be doing at the moment, in support of the fight against the coronavirus.”

The leader of Westminster City Council, Rachael Robathan, who visited the unit this week, said: “Only last week we were celebrating the sacrifice and commitment of our armed forces in keeping us safe as part of VE Day and once again they are in the front line of defending us from the new foe of corona­virus.

“The professionalism and efficiency of the mobile testing unit in Hyde Park is deeply impressive.

“Over the coming weeks I am sure the army presence in Westminster will play its part in rolling back the tide of this epidemic.”

The World Health Organisation has given a stark warning this week that the coronavirus is a “pandemic” and is far from over, with a surge of cases springing up in Brazil and Latin America.

There have been 106,000 new cases recorded worldwide over the past 24 hours.


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