The British military is preparing to intervene in the battle against the coronavirus
Accoring to Sky News 10,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen could be placed on “standby” in the “coming weeks” as the coronavirus outbreak gets worse.
Codenamed Operation Broadshare, the miltary plans were drawn up ‘weeks ago’ but have only come to light as the outbreak entered crisis phase.
Press TV reports: Operation Broadshare is loosely modeled on Operation Temperer, the military plan that is enacted following a major terrorist attack on British soil.
The contents of Operation Broadshare envisage a wide range of scenarios, including plans to cope with the “breakdown of civil society”.
Less extreme scenarios include army personnel supporting the police force, protecting major buildings and locations and staffing morgues.
There are even provisions for helping “older people” with shopping and transport. However, British defence journalists have pointed out – tongue in cheek perhaps – that the army is not expected to “guard supermarkets”.
Following on that theme, another leading British national security journalist tweeted half-jokingly that troops are not expected to protect “toilet roll supplies”.
Frivolity aside, the British military is under no illusions about the gravity of the situation.
As part of Operation Broadshare, the army is expected to move quickly to secure sites and infrastructure of “extreme” national security importance, notably Britain’s nuclear weapons facilities and the Air Command operation in Buckinghamshire which is tasked with protecting UK airspace.
“It feels like we’re getting ready for war, but this time at home”, one senior military source told Sky News.