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surge support Three army camps to turn into isolation centres for Covid-19 patients

The Defence Forces are also working in close cooperation with the HSE to provide surge capacity in terms of swab testing and contact-tracing capabilities.

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Members of the Defence Forces assisted at the drive-in Covid-19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Stephen Collins

Members of the Defence Forces assisted at the drive-in Covid-19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Stephen Collins

Members of the Defence Forces assisted at the drive-in Covid-19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Stephen Collins

Three military camps are being adapted so that they can be used as isolation centres for Covid-19 patients.

They are the Coolmoney camp in the Glen of Imaal and Kilbride, both in Co Wicklow, and Kilworth camp in Co Cork.

The Wicklow camps were used last year to quarantine members of the Defence Forces before deployment to overseas peace missions.

The Defence Forces have been involved in establishing step-down medical facilities at Citywest in Dublin and the University of Limerick.

However, there has been no request from the HSE for the conversion of military facilities into Tfield hospitals.

A military hospital, St Bricin's in Dublin, is also available for conversion and there is contingency planning to provide support for, and manning of, national body storage facilities in temporary morgues.

The Defence Forces are also working in close cooperation with the HSE to provide surge capacity in terms of swab testing and contact-tracing capabilities.

As part of Operation Fortitude, which was set up last March, the Defence Forces are providing support across four specific streams, known as the four Ts: testing, tracing, transport and tentage.

Personnel have been supplying advice based on their experiences with the Ebola disease in Africa and working with the EU's Operation Sophia.

During the first wave of the virus, the Defence Forces provided personnel for testing, administrative and marshalling duties at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, with 44,064 tests carried out to date.

Additional frontline support was given over Christmas and this is set to continue.

Senior management have committed up to 56 military first responders to community health organisations, creating a capacity for up to 4,000 additional swab tests a day.

An extra 60 military personnel were trained by the HSE over the Christmas weekend to complement personnel from the Defence Forces and bring the total surge-support figure to 100.

The LÉ Eithne has been available as a logistics support base at Cork port, while other naval ships have been ready to back up shore-side test centres at Dublin and Galway ports.

Members of the Ordnance Corps were also involved with Aquila Bioscience in the development of AntiBioAgent decontamination wipes.


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