CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – PROTECTION FROM THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 AT SEA [60642] – 16 June 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether outbreaks of covid-19 infection have occurred on (a) Royal Naval and (b) Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels; whether those vessels' deployments have been affected as a result of covid-19 infection; whether naval personnel are kept in barracks for a sufficient period to check for infection with covid-19 before deployment at sea; and what his policy is to minimise the effect of naval personnel embarking on a deployment soon after taking leave in numerous different locations within the UK.  [60642]

[Due for Answer on 22 June.] 

ANSWER

The Minister for the Armed Forces (James Heappey): For reasons of operational security, we cannot comment on the number of COVID-19 cases that have occurred on Royal Navy (RN) or Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels. As of 31 May, there have been 45 confirmed cases of Royal Navy Service personnel with COVID-19. No deployments of RN or RFA vessels have been affected as a result of these infections.

The RN has a policy on COVID-19 risk mitigation measures, which includes direction on the use of quarantining and COVID-19 testing to minimise the risk of COVID infection onboard deploying RN vessels to as low as reasonably practicable. The nature of these measures depends on the vessel and activity that is being undertaken, and may require personnel to be quarantined ashore in a cabin or onboard the vessel if they display symptoms or have been in contact with others who have displayed symptoms.