In the UK, many regions are overwhelmed by the Corona crisis, and planning and staff are lacking. The army is now taking on important tasks.
It only took a week, and the ExCel Centre in east London is no longer an exhibition hall, but one of the largest hospitals in the world. Within a few days, the planning staff of the British military set up a gigantic field hospital with the NHS health service in the 1,000-meter-long building. Military engineers help the sanitary facilities, heating, lighting, and power supply of the clinic work. The hospital will be equipped with 4,000 beds. Military doctors support civilian doctors on duty. It is just one example of how the military steps in to help the UK face the crisis.
It doesn’t stop at logistical help. In the countryside, the British military is helping to plan how regional crisis teams should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. “We have some of the best planning specialists in the world,” said Tobias Ellwood, MP and chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee. “They are now in the ministries and explain how the administration can be maintained.” After all, at least 25 percent of the staff would be lost due to illness or self-isolation. “It has to be decided immediately: what must continue to work, what can be dispensed with and where can the military help?”
Great Britain has no federalism like Germany, no state governments with its extensive administration. No western democracy is controlled from the centre of the capital like the United Kingdom. However, local planning is now important, which overwhelms many regions. There is also a shortage of staff. The ministries had to lay off tens of thousands of employees during the austerity measures from 2008 to 2016. Then came Brexit in 2016, which was hard on the administration. Hence the mistakes that occurred at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, for example, the missed opportunity to participate in the EU tender for ventilators and the late procurement of protective clothing for health care personnel.