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2nd Jul, 2022

Soldier returns home to join fight against Covid-19

Ian Hughes 28th Jul, 2020

A SOLDIER has returned home to help in the fight against Covid-19.

Gunner Edward Darby, from Leamington, along with other soldiers from 26th Regiment (The West Midlands Gunners) Royal Artillery, are managing a mobile testing unit at Stratford College on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The troops have set up a fully functioning test centre, including a tent and stands, within 15 minutes of arriving at the empty college car park each day.

People arriving at the centre, who have pre-booked their tests on www.gov.uk, do not need to leave their cars to be tested.

They are first welcomed by the soldiers who explain how the test will be carried out. The troops, wearing personal protective equipment, hand out test kits to the drivers who then park their car to take the test, involving a nose and throat swab, before driving onto another station where they hand over their test.

The soldiers store the samples in refrigerated cool boxes in a specially kitted out van before they are taken to a laboratory. Results will be returned in one to two days.

Soldiers have helped carry out half a million coronavirus tests across the UK.

Gunner Darby attended Aylesford School in Warwick and joined the British Army two years ago.

The 27-year-old said: “As we are the ‘West Midlands Gunners’, to come back and help the community we are from during this pandemic is very rewarding.

“The most enjoyable part of this role is seeing people quite relieved when you’ve given them the test and helping put their minds at rest because the testing can be a little bit uncomfortable.

“You feel like you have given something back. It also increases the communication between us and the civilian population who I don’t think ever see us performing duties like this.”

People with Covid-19 symptoms should go online and book a test. It is not painful and there is plenty of capacity to meet needs. Anyone in England is eligible. If the result is positive people will hear from NHS Test and Trace who will explain what steps need to taken.

 

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