Royal Marines deployed to the Arctic to conduct their annual cold weather training are understood to have tested positive for COVID19.
The Ministry of Defence say that the Commandos are in the North of Norway learning to be “winter warriors conducting Arctic survival training in bitterly cold temperatures”.
“The conditions are harsh around 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle, where the sun barely rises and temperatures plummet to below -30C. The Elite Royal Marines must be prepared to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. That includes the most extreme climates known to man, including Arctic, jungle and desert.”
It is understood that the troops were to take part in the Joint Viking NATO winter warfare exercise scheduled for February the 8th, this has now been cancelled due to rising numbers of positive test results.
Local reports from the Nye Troms website claim that so far 53 Americans, 25 British and four Dutch troops had tested positive.
Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said in a statement:
“Norway is currently in a demanding situation. Infection control measures in Nordre Follo and other nearby municipalities [near Oslo] are the most invasive ones since the onset of the Corona pandemic. We must take precautious measures to try avoiding spreading the UK mutation of the virus, and after an overall assessment of the situation, we have decided to cancel the allied activities in Troms.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:
“A number of Royal Marines deployed in Norway are currently in quarantine after a small number of positive cases. Personnel were in a two-week isolation period after travelling when they were tested, further precautionary measures are in place to allow this essential training to be conducted safely.”