Hundreds of British troops are locked up and living on rations in Kenya after a coronavirus outbreak sparked a military exercise.
The British Army confirmed that four employees on site with a combat group training regiment tested positive for Covid-19.
A total of 320 military personnel in Nanyuki for the Askari Storm exercise were placed under isolation rules on site – half of which were quarantined in tents.
More than 1,000 soldiers are eating rations after the camp commandant ordered the cooking house to be closed and local staff, including cooks, banned for their own safety, officials confirmed.
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced tonight that the camp of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) had been separated into isolation groups by flights upon arrival and had been subjected to further quarantine orders after positive tests were confirmed.
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The on-site groups for the exercise include at least two infantry battalions.
The MOD confirmed that a total of 1,606 people were on site – more are on the way.
The Mercian personnel of the Army’s 2nd Battalion are isolating.
The ministry said all soldiers had been tested for Covid-19 92 hours before their flights to Kenya.
Upon arrival, the flight groups each had to isolate for six days to contain the transmission.
They were asked daily about symptoms and tested using PCR.
During that initial six-day control period, four tested positive, the MOD said in a statement.
As a result, local civilians employed to staff the camp’s gym and kitchens were told not to come to work until the outbreak was under control in order to protect the Kenyan community, the MOD said.
The areas have been thoroughly cleaned and the soldiers have been fed rations in the meantime, the department confirmed.
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
A spokeswoman said many had “knocked down” in tents and on rations during the exercise, but the isolation orders had enforced more outdoors until the outbreak was contained.
More troops will arrive in the coming days to take part in the exercise, the MOD confirmed.
They would be subjected to the same testing and isolation guidelines upon arrival, the department said.
A British Army spokesman said: “The BATUK camp has become increasingly isolated after a very small number of soldiers tested positive for Covid-19. All soldiers deployed during the training were required to go through an isolation phase and negative tests before traveling to Kenya.
“The British Army takes the health and wellbeing of staff and the local population in Kenya very seriously. The Department of Defense’s health protection measures are being used to prevent further infections. “