Ministers accused of ‘letting Covid-19 rip’ through Army as positive tests up 63%

Cases of Covid-19 within the Army have rocketed by 63% up to now in 2021 in comparison with final year, official figures reveal.

Some 3,281 positive tests have been recorded amongst British Army personnel up to now this year, up from 2,006 in the entire of 2020.

In whole, 9,502 armed forces personnel have examined positive for Covid because the pandemic started, together with 2,496 within the Royal Navy and 1,435 within the Royal Air Force.

The figures, printed by Defence Minister James Heappey, present what number of positive Covid-19 tests had been entered into troops’ medical data.

Some 1,080 positive tests have been registered within the Navy this year up to now – in comparison with 1,416 for the entire of final year.

In the Air Force, this year has seen 705 positive tests, in comparison with 730 in the entire of 2020.

In whole, 9,502 armed forces personnel have examined positive because the begin of the pandemic

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus stated: “It is shameful that the government has let Covid rip through our armed forces.

“They are playing fast and loose with the country’s national security and leaving many of our brave troops at risk of getting long Covid.”

Separate figures published last week show that 55,000 Armed Forces personnel have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 while 5,200 were self-isolating.

In response, Mr Heappey said it was right to vaccinate troops in line with their age cohort – and that personnel serving overseas would be offered jabs no later than they would have at home.

He advised the Commons: “For those on active operations overseas, we have administered first doses of vaccine to 95% of those eligible and 61% of them have had their second dose.

“I can assure the House that every single eligible person across Defence, at home or abroad, will have been offered at least their first vaccine dose by 19 July, in line with the national programme.”

Ms Moran added: “We need a clear plan to vaccinate our troops and get Covid cases back under control.

“The armed forces are playing a vital role on the frontline of this pandemic. They deserve better than this.”

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A Ministry of Defence spokesperson stated: “Defence continues to deliver our outputs while operating in line with public health guidance.

“The health and wellbeing of our employees remains a priority. Testing is just one of many safety measures aimed at minimising the risk of COVID-19 to our Armed Forces as they carry out their duties.”

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