Royal Air Force helps deliver Coronavirus tests in Wales
Over 170 members of the Royal Air Force have arrived in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, to deliver the second round of Whole Town Testing in the UK.
The first Royal Air Force personnel joined testing sites across South Wales on Wednesday 25 November.
Deployed from several Royal Air Force Stations across the UK, the RAF team includes some volunteers to the programme who have been serving for 20 years, others who finished basic training as little as a week ago.
Merthyr Tydfil had the highest COVID-19 rate in Wales and has been selected for the first mass testing in the nation. With 14 testing sites up and running and some sites testing over 1000 people a day, the movement in Wales has had an incredible response so far.
The RAF have hit the ground running and their support has been well received. In one testing centre, the biscuit factory next door brought over a biscuit box for the testers after a long day.
Personnel are working alongside Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (MTCBC), NHS Wales, Welsh Government and the Department for Health and Social Care. Council and military planners have been working together to establish centres in leisure centres, stadiums and other local buildings to train testers and offer Lateral Flow Device tests.
On arrival, RAF personnel trained at the local Leisure Centre to use PPE correctly and to deliver the testing. They then moved into smaller teams and deployed to the 14 testing centres set up by the MTCBC. Their support will mean greatly increased capacity at each centre.
The council are encouraging people to come for two tests, 7 days apart, to make sure people remain negative and do not spread the virus without realising. With a turnaround of half an hour, members of the public have time to come back if tested positive for more advice and support.
The RAF has been involved in numerous MACA (Military Aid to the Civil Authority) tasks to support the UK Government’s response to COVID-19, including support to hospitals and logistic hubs, delivering testing in Birmingham, delivering tests to nursing homes and also as part of the Aviation Task force to transport critically ill patients by Air.
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