RBR overseas camp participants hit with Covid-19
More than 30 people who took part in a two-week military training exercise in North Carolina, USA, which included the Royal Bermuda Regiment, tested positive for Covid-19, it has emerged.
An RBR spokesman said that 13 people on the trip back to the island on Saturday were listed as positive for the novel coronavirus when the flight manifest for the charter airlift was drawn up earlier this week.
But no one on the flight was symptomatic when the flight left.
A total of 33 people tested positive for Covid during the manoeuvres at the US Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, the spokesman said.
The number included members of other units, not just the RBR.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, the RBR’s commanding officer, said: “The 33 total was the number over two weeks and that number reduced quite quickly from there.
“There were no serious cases and a significant majority were asymptomatic.
“The reality is, we took extra safety precautions, not just reactive ones.
“Everyone who tested positive while overseas was put into isolation and on leaving there were no symptomatic cases.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley insisted that every soldier on the trip had been given at least the double dose of the vaccine, which was a requirement for participation in the exercise.
He stated: “The Department of Health advised us how to repatriate the main body of the Regiment and they were excellent in processing them through the airport.
“It was a great example of Government departments working together and we followed all the relevant processes as required.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley added: “Anyone who didn’t want to go home until they were absolutely sure they were clear was offered accommodation in Warwick Camp.”
The comments came after about 109 of the 140 who travelled to Camp Lejeune returned on a charter flight today.
Some of the troops had taken personal leave in the US, British Army instructors had returned to the UK, and the group of about ten Turks and Caicos troops travelled home on their own.
Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley added: “People should not be alarmed by ill-informed speculation or information that is not accurate.”
The overseas exercise was the first such one since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic.
Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley said: “It was a resounding success, not least because we took elements from across every department.
“In addition to the main body on exercise, potential junior commanders from the RBR and Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment completed their leadership and leadership assessments and the RBR Coast Guard refreshed and retrained with the US Coast Guard.”