The Government have stated that there is ‘no need’ to bring troops home to assist with COVID-19 efforts.
Robert Halfon MP asked via a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans for armed forces personnel stationed overseas to return to the UK to help in tackling the covid-19 outbreak.”
James Heappey, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, responded:
“Supporting the Government’s response to COVID-19 continues to be Defence’s main effort. There are nearly 3,000 members of the Armed Forces deployed in the UK to assist Civil Authorities with the response. They are part of over 19,000 Defence personnel in the COVID Support Force stood ready to support. The availability of UK-based personnel means that there is currently no need to return personnel stationed overseas to support the COVID-19 effort in the UK.”
Military reservists have also been mobilised by the MoD to support public services as part of the COVID Support Force. At the moment, only Reservists with specialist skills that meet specific requests for help from other government departments will be called out.
They are being used in a range of roles, such as providing medical and logistical support for the NHS; acting as liaison officers; and deploying specialist skills such as engineering and accounting.