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Naval service vessels deployed to act as support bases for onshore COVID-19 test centres

There will be electricity supplies, accommodation, food preparation, water supplies and even equipment storage on the berthed vessels

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Picture: Irish Defence Forces

Picture: Irish Defence Forces

Picture: Irish Defence Forces

NAVAL Service vessels are being deployed to Dublin, Cork and Galway as 'one-stop-shops' to support Covid-19 testing.

The vessels will act as support bases for onshore testing centres - with Covid-19 testing staff supported by electricity supplies, accommodation, food preparation, water supplies and even equipment storage on the berthed vessels.

LE Samuel Beckett has been assigned to Dublin, LE William Butler Yeats has been assigned to Galway and an as-yet-unknown vessel will be deployed to Cork's upper docks.

Haulbowline Naval Base is only one hour steaming distance from Cork's upper docks and it remains unclear whether an active fleet vessel will be deployed or whether LE Eithne, which has been docked and out of service since last year, will be designated.

The deployment is part of the Defence Forces aid to the civilian power - and aims to assist the Health Service Executive (HSE) with the provision of easy-to-access testing centres.

Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid said they were very grateful for the Naval Service offer of support - and he said the experience their personnel boasts of humanitarian missions and the medical needs involved will be potentially very useful.

Covid-19 testing will not be conducted on board the berthed ships.

Rather, the vessels will act as floating resource bases for health officials.

"They will effectively act as floating one-stop-shops if required by health officials," one source said.

Health officials have inspected two of the vessels and the dockland sites involved.

The deployment is part of the massive effort in Ireland to increase testing for the virus and to support contact-tracing.

Health officials stressed that stringent testing and contact-tracing of all those who contract the virus is central to slowing the spread of the virus and ensuring the health system is able to better cope with the epidemic.

The Government has warned that 15,000 people in Ireland could contract the virus within weeks.

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