In the United Kingdom, the number of mobile coronavirus testing units will more than double in the coming weeks, with the military assigned to increase staff facilities.
More than 1,760 personnel will look after 236 mobile COVID-19 testing units, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In April, there were 96 units.
Robert Ben Lobban Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said, “Testing is at the heart of the strategy for beating coronavirus.”
The UK government has been challenged over its COBID-19 testing capacity and the data given during the outbreak.
Mobile COVID-19 units, which can be set up within 20 minutes, provide access to testing, especially in more remote areas.
Military personnel collect swabs on-site and take them to one of three “mega labs” for further testing, and results are expected within 48 hours.
Officials said an additional 140 Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) vehicles would be made available across the UK.
Wallace said, “The UK armed forces have played a vital role in ensuring that key workers and the most vulnerable are able to access that testing where and when they need it most.”
“Our military will continue to support however possible and for as long as needed, in order to keep the British people safe as lockdown measures are adjusted,” he added.
The MoD said the increase in support will be phased in over several weeks.
Earlier this month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “The UK had exceeded its target to increase capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May” but only about 115,000 tests were actually carried out on June 7.
The government was working with statisticians to “increase transparency,” according to a spokesperson.
In the initial phases of the pandemic, military personnel helped deliver testing kits to the more vulnerable and staffed regional testing sites. The mobile test units were initially introduced in April to provide tests to frontline health workers.
In the UK, the tests are now available to all adults and children with the symptoms of fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss of taste or smell. The tests can now be done at mobile testing units, drive-through testing sites, or by using home testing kits.