The Government are looking at existing contingency operations to provide support to the civil authorities.

Lynn Browne Shadow Minister for the Treasury, asked via a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department is preparing to train service personnel to perform essential (a) public health, (b) nursing and (c) civil protection functions in the event that work forces are depleted or reassigned during the peak period of covid-19 infection.”

James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, replied:

“Defence has a number of existing contingency operations to provide support to the civil authorities, including the Police and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service. In light of the likely additional call on military assistance to mitigate COVID-19 related staff absence in civil authorities, Defence is reviewing its plans, training and readiness in order to support additional requests.”

Covid-19 in the UK

As of the 17th of March, after performing 50,442 tests, the Government say that there have been 1,950 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. 60 people in the UK with confirmed infection have died and one further death has been confirmed in the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands. Additionally, one British citizen died in the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The Ministry of Defence can already call on 300 GPs, 1,200 nurses and a significant amount of surgeons. While many of these personnel already work full-time in the NHS, the MoD could deploy 2,500 combat medical technicians if requested to do so.

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Daniele Mandelli

In the Cold War hundreds of sites were designated KP’s “Key Points” to be protected, and no doubt those contingency plans are still in place.

Wonder when the local supermarkets will become KP’s, given the panic buying going on? Especially if it gets so bad there are food riots and Tesco’s gets laid waste!

Steve Martin

The worry I have is the increase of service personnel in isolation. It’s creeping up without much being said.


The inevitability of armed forces being involved, especially if the virus hits the UK hard is clear. There are still designated sites from what I hear, around the four nations that would be used for emergency hospitals and civil management. The fact that the West has probably not been so vulnerable in terms of military stability, since the end of the Cold War, is a sobering thought. Our soft underbelly has never been so tempting?


Whatever happened to the ‘home defence units’ that were designated to guard some of those KPs ? As I remember they were armed with Brens and other old but serviceable weapons.

Daniele Mandelli

They were part of the TA I recall? And made up by over 50s? I still have the Combat Survival magazines that had a piece detailing them.


The lads to old for the TA, platoon sized organizations, Key Point Defence, think if memory serves me right only had an annual commitment of a couple of weekends! Numbered 5000, another good example of using who and what is available. Cannon fodder for a Spetznatz team but good enough to deter the toilet roll/pasta/Corbyn supporters who would have wanted to try a bit of local misbehaving. SLRs, and 4 mags of 20 rds, enough to deter and possibly stop. Cheers mate.