Soldiers from 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, being trained to conduct lateral flow testing for Covid-19 at Chattenden Community Centre, Kent, on 4th December 2020.
Soldiers from 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, being trained to conduct lateral flow testing for Covid-19 at Chattenden Community Centre, Kent, on 4th December 2020.

What was it like leading COVID-19 test sites after having had the virus?

Hear from the Section Commander at some of the testing sites in Kent in Janruary. Lance Corporal Dikenra Limbu was one of the Gurkha soldiers deployed on COVID-19 Asymptomatic Test Sites. Hear it in his own words:

“I am Lance Corporal Dikendra Limbu and I’m from 69 Gurkha Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment.

2020 was a challenging for everyone with the whole world engulfed by the pandemic. Though it seemed an insurmountable hurdle, we continue fighting and one day we will triumph. Having experienced the hardship of COVID-19 myself, I was keen to assist others in the battle against this vicious enemy. On the 4th Jan 2021, we were given our chance to deploy. We established and operated Asymptomatic Testing Sites (ATS) across Kent.

LCpl Limbu registering participants ready for COVID-19 testing

The troop was divided into two teams of 10. My team were responsible for the registration of individuals and the other team focused on doing the Lateral Flow Device COVID-19 tests. It was a fantastic experience assisting communities with such a diverse range of ages and backgrounds.

The kind words and general appreciation shown by the general public acted as a catalyst boosting the team’s morale. We are able to test up to 800 individuals per day. The whole process is conducted whilst implementing rigid force health protection protocols to ensure the safety of both our workforce and the general public.

One of the toughest challenges we encountered was identifying individuals who required additional assistance. Many elderly individuals have poor vision, reduced hearing and are less technologically able. This can cause the registration to take a little longer. Humility, politeness and professionalism were critical in ensuring we overcame any issues and delivered an excellant service. The sense of reward that you gain from helping others drives our team forwards.

I joined the British Army on 18th December 2011 with the sole intention of continuing in the footsteps of my forefathers. Being part of the British Army has been a rollercoaster ride which has allowed me to deploy across the globe in a range of dynamic roles. I’ve been deployed to Cyprus, Kenya, Caribbean islands, Nepal and South Sudan to name just a few. These deployments were either construction projects, military exercises or humanitarian operations. I’ve always loved being involved in humanitarian projects and view these unique opportunities as one of the mains perks of serving in the Army.

After three weeks at the Kemsley Asymptomatic Testing Site, we had handed the site over to our civilian colleagues from Kent County Council. We moved to the Herne Bay Asymptomatic Testing Site and begun a new adventure. We continue working with same tenacity and grit to assist others. I truly believe that by working together we can bring an end to this pandemic and return to normality. The key lesson which I will take away from this deployment is that whatever the circumstances and whoever the enemy, with strong team spirit, humility and professionalism, we will prevail.”

Read more about Military Aid to Civil Authorities and the COVID-19 response here:

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

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