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U.K. calls in military to help hospitals facing staff crunch

They are also assisting with COVID-19 testing, vaccination

Britain’s Ministry of Defence on Friday said that it had begun the deployment of the military to support hospitals experiencing staff shortages and extreme pressures due to record COVID-19 cases in the country.

With the surge of Omicron variant, Britain has reported over 1,50,000 new cases each day over the last week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that England can withstand the surge without new restrictions thanks to vaccination and the lower severity of the variant, but has warned of a challenging few weeks, as staffing is disrupted as people self-isolate.

The government has also deployed armed forces to assist with COVID-19 testing and vaccination programmes.

“Once again they are stepping up to assist NHS workers who are working round the clock across the capital, helping the health service through this difficult winter period where the need is greatest,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said.

Britain has reported nearly 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, and, two years into a pandemic, its state-run health service was already facing a morale and staffing crisis even before the recent surge in Omicron, a lawmaker report said.

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