What assessment his Department has made of the additional support that armed forces personnel could provide to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.
Defence remains ready to contribute however requested, with a further 16,000 troops available at high readiness if required. We keep our support under constant review and adjust the capabilities available to meet demand. We have liaison officers deployed in the other Government Departments and local resilience fora, which provide the standing joint commander and the Defence head office with insight into developing needs.
As the crisis develops in our care homes across the country, does my right hon. Friend agree that our military are ready and able to help our local authorities if they need that support to get into care homes and provide the logistical support to get PPE to the people who need it?
My hon. Friend raises a very important point about care homes. There are two parts to the issue: one is infections in care homes; and one is, effectively, leakage of infections from care homes into the wider community. Only this morning I spoke to the Prime Minister about offering up more military support if needed to make sure that our local resilience fora and care homes get the assistance they need, whether that is bringing testing to care homes or helping them with the routine and structure of decontamination, so that staff can come and go better from care homes. We stand ready to do that as required by the Department of Health and Social Care and any other stakeholder.