Covid cases in armed forces soar by over 1,400 as government accused of “neglecting” troops

Positive Covid cases in the armed forces have risen by their highest number so far this year, analysis of official figures by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has revealed.¹

The number of positive cases increased by 1,474 in the two weeks up to 23rd July, the steepest rise in 2021, according to Ministry of Defence statistics published today.

This brings the total number of positive cases in the armed forces since the beginning of the pandemic to 11,890, with 6,510 in the army, 3,408 in the navy, and 1,972 in the RAF.² 

The APPG on Coronavirus is calling on the government to take urgent action to boost vaccine uptake among troops and protect them from the virus, warning the rise in cases pose a threat to national security. It comes after recent figures revealed that 55,000 Armed Forces personnel have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.³

The analysis of official figures also found that whilst cases in the armed forces were rising, national Covid cases were falling. For the same two week period, daily positive cases dropped by 4,993, from 32,190 on 9th July to 27,197 on 23rd July.⁴

Clive Lewis MP, vice chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said:

"These shocking figures show the government is failing to protect our armed forces, who have played such an important role on the frontline of this pandemic.

"Neglecting them and allowing Covid to ravage through their ranks threatens not only the fight against the virus, but also our national security.

"Ministers must urgently set out a plan to boost vaccine uptake in the armed forces and prevent cases from rising further."

ENDS

For any media queries, please contact Niall McGourty on 07540100933, [email protected]

Notes to Editor

[1] The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and has so far held 26 hearings and made over 50 recommendations. The APPG brings together 73 MPs and peers from across the political spectrum, representing all four nations and every Westminster party. The secretariat for the APPG is provided by the campaigning group March for Change.

[2] Data

Date

Total positive tests for Covid in armed forces

Difference on previous week

Percentage increase

23-Jul

11890

1474

14.15%

09-Jul

10416

914

9.62%

25-Jun

9502

346

3.78%

11-Jun

9156

138

1.53%

28-May

9018

70

0.78%

14-May

8948

143

1.62%

30-Apr

8805

134

1.55%

16-Apr

8671

179

2.11%

02-Apr

8492

335

4.11%

19-Mar

8157

361

4.63%

05-Mar

7796

487

6.66%

19-Feb

7309

714

10.83%

05-Feb

6595

1040

18.72%

22-Jan

5555

1252

29.10%

08-Jan

4303

N/A

 

Figures taken from Ministry of Defence data, which you can see here

[3]  Response to a parliamentary question tabled by Baroness Masham which you can read here, or see full copy of question and response below.

Question: To ask Her Majesty's Government how many military personnel are (1) not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, and (2) currently having to isolate. (HL1762)

Answer: Baroness Goldie:As at 5 July 2021, 54,742 UK Armed Forces personnel had no record of having received a COVID-19 vaccination (based on those Defence Medical Services entitled personnel in service as at 1 May 2021).

As at 1 July 2021, 5,200 Regular and Reservist Armed Forces personnel were reported as absent from work because of COVID-19 self-isolation.

[4] Figures taken from official government data here.