Northern Ireland asks for up to 100 armed forces medics to help deal with COVID patients

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has received a request to send up to 100 armed forces medics to Northern Ireland to support two hospitals in need of help to deal with the number of coronavirus patients,

Northern Ireland asks for up to 100 armed forces medics to help deal with COVID patients

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has received a request to send up to 100 armed forces medics to Northern Ireland to support two hospitals in need of help to deal with the number of coronavirus patients, Sky News has learnt.

The requirement is understood to be for 80 to 100 military medics to support Belfast City Hospital and Ulster Hospital in Dundonald for the whole of October.

"We have received a request for MACA [Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities]," a defence source said. "It is being looked at."

A decision is expected to be made next week.

The army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force provided thousands of personnel to help with the government's response to the COVID pandemic across the UK since the crisis began.

The number of MACA operations has dropped significantly in recent months, however.

It means the number of service personnel currently involved in anything related to this mission is very small.

The Northern Ireland request would be a marked increase.