Hundreds of British troops are on lockdown in Kenya and living on rations after a coronavirus outbreak struck a military exercise.
The British Army confirmed four personnel on location with a battle group training regiment have tested positive for Covid-19.
A total 320 military personnel in Nanyuki for Exercise Askari Storm have been placed under isolation rules at the site – with half quarantining in tents.
More than 1,000 troops are eating rations after the camp Commander ordered the cookhouse shut and banned local staff including chefs from the camp for their own safety, officials confirmed.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) said tonight the camp at British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) had been split into isolating groups by flights upon arrival, then were subjected to further quarantine orders once the positive tests were confirmed.
The groups on location for the exercise are understood to include at least two infantry battalions.
The MOD confirmed the total on location numbered 1,606 people in total – with more on the way.
The Army’s 2nd battalion Mercian personnel are among those isolating.
The Ministry said all soldiers were tested for Covid-19 92 hours before their flights to Kenya.
Upon arrival, the flight groups each had to isolate for six days to curb transmission.
They were continually asked about any symptoms daily and were PCR tested.
During that initial six day ‘control’ period, four tested positive, the MOD said in a statement.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-news%2Fbritish-troops-lockdown-kenya-after-23459521&cre=center&cip=19&view=web
As a result, local civilians employed to staff the camp’s gym and kitchens were told not to come into work until the outbreak was under control, to protect the Kenyan community, the MOD said.
The areas were being deep-cleaned, and soldiers were being fed on rations in the meantime, the department confirmed.
A spokeswoman said as part of the exercise many would already have been ‘bashering up’ – living in tents and on rations – but the isolation orders had forced more outdoors until the outbreak was contained.
More troops will still arrive to join the exercise in coming days, the MOD confirmed.
They would be put through the same testing and isolation policies when they arrived, the department said.
A British Army spokesperson said: “The BATUK camp has been placed into enhanced isolation after a very small number of soldiers tested positive for Covid-19. All soldiers deploying on exercise had to conduct a period of isolation and test negative prior to travelling to Kenya.
“The British Army takes the health and wellbeing of personnel and the local community in Kenya very seriously. The Ministry of Defence’s Force Health Protection measures are being applied to prevent further infections.”