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Defence Forces ramp up for Covid



Vice Admiral Mark Mellett

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett

Senior officers in the Defence Forces are planning to increase their involvement in the battle against Covid if required.

Since last March, the mili-tary has completed 58,658 individual tasks.

This includes significant efforts in recent weeks in terms of swab testing and contact tracing.

Chief of staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett said they decided at the start of the pandemic to launch Operation Fortitude.

The "muscle" behind that was a joint task force built out of their experience in missions such as Afghanistan and west Africa.

Military planners have developed contingency plans to provide the HSE with increased "surge capacity".

This frontline support will continue until the suppression of the third wave of the killer virus.


The military has committed nearly 60 first responders, providing for up to an additional 4,000 swab tests a day.

Defence Forces personnel were trained by the HSE over Christmas, bringing the total number available for contact tracing to 100.

The Air Corps has carried out 19 flights to Germany with swab tests to be analysed, while since the middle of this month two dozen have been deployed to four nursing homes in Munster for non-clinical duties.

Lieutenant Colonel Louis Flynn is helping with plann-ing and logistics for vaccination tasks, while the Air Corps has transported vaccines to remote locations and will be available to fly medical staff and vaccines to islands.

The Defence Forces also have a pool of 50 central medical unit personnel, consisting of emergency medical technicians, paramedics and advance paramedics, available to help the HSE with administering vaccines.