2020’s Top Ten Stories: The COVID Support Force

Your number one most-read story this year is the UK Armed Forces’ efforts in helping fight COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic.

Each day in the run-up to New Year’s Day we have been reposting our most-read stories from 2020.

Other stories featured in the top-ten are;

10–2020’s Top Ten Stories: Inside Strategic Command

9 — 2020’s Top Ten Stories: Airborne soldiers make history

8–2020’s Top Ten Stories: What kit does an Apache Pilot carry?

7–2020’s Top Ten Stories: 5 things to know about the Poseidon

6–2020’s Top Ten Stories: a couple on the frontline

5–2020’s Top Ten Stories: Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA)

4–2020’s Top Ten Stories: Poseidon protects UK waters against Russian warship

3–2020’s Top Ten Stories: Better to die than be a coward

2–2020’s Top Ten Stories: The Royal Engineer’s first female Squadron Sergeant Major

Military Aid to Civil Authorities: The COVID Support Force

To support the UK’s response to the coronavirus outbreak back in March, up to 20,000 Service personnel were on standby to help, when requested.

At times of crisis, the Government often calls upon the military to contribute to the national response due to their specialist skill-set and equipment. This is called Military Aid to Civil Authorities or MACA.

As the Government and nation began to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, behind the scenes a team of military planners from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force were embedded within Government departments to offer expert advice.

The military also assisted with bringing British citizens home from affected areas around the world such as China and Japan.

Royal Air Force Police dog handler alongside a repatriation flight of British citizens from China.

The UK Armed Forces then put an additional 10,000 military personnel at a higher level of readiness. Earmarked for their specialist skills, these Servicemen and women were trained and ready to deploy around the country to support public services if the Government asked them to.

  • 150 military personnel were ready to support the NHS by driving oxygen tankers.
  • Up to 20,000 Servicemen and women earmarked for the COVID Support Force.
  • Reserve sailors, soldiers and airmen and women received a Call out Order enabling them to join the response effort if required.
  • Defence scientists from Defence Science and Technology Laboratories supported Public Health England’s effort to understand the virus and tackle the spread.
The UK Armed Forces has a wide range of skills and equipment useful to Government at a time of crisis.

There are well-rehearsed systems in place for the military to provide support to civil authorities when required — for example, soldiers help build flood defences during floods.

The departments of state are front and centre of the Government’s response to this crisis and the UK Armed Forces have been ready to support in a variety of roles.

Our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women are currently deployed overseas tackling terrorism, maintaining peace and ensuring the safety of the UK — they continue to maintain their obligations to these operations around the world at this time.

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:



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Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence

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