The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) is declining to disclose how many of its personnel have been hit with the deadly coronavirus, despite flying its troops to countries that have imposed travel bans on UK travelers.
In the last two weeks, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has flown 30 of its planes – built to move military personnel around – from the UK to the US, Germany, Cyprus, Belize, Estonia and Finland – nations that have banned Britons from entering, according to Declassified UK.
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In addition, the British Army has put around 20,000 troops on standby, ready to be deployed across Britain’s streets and key sites such as hospitals in an effort to counter the spread of coronavirus.
The MoD told Declassified UK – a website that provides in-depth analysis and news on British foreign policy – that it will not provide information regarding Covid-19 infections within their personnel, saying: “We do not comment on the personal or medical details of our people.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry insisted that armed forces were continuing operations “critical” to the defense of the UK “both at home and overseas,” and claimed that they “will abide” by measures put in place by other nations to “mitigate the Covid-19 virus.”
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Coronavirus sends British forces home from Iraq
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that military troops are among the leading spreaders of disease, explaining why the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) has published specific warnings on the issue.
On Friday, it was reported that 300 British soldiers are currently locked down at their barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire, with “no hygiene essentials,” raising concerns that their cramped conditions could lead to a coronavirus outbreak.
Furthermore, the MoD revealed in mid-March that an unspecified number of the 400 or so British troops in Iraq were to be sent home to “support loved ones facing the challenges of the virus.”