'No fatalities' as 13 Irish peacekeeping troops contract Covid

'No fatalities' as 13 Irish peacekeeping troops contract Covid

The Defence Forces has confirmed that among the 580 or so Irish troops serving overseas at any one time in up to up to 13 countries, a total of 13 soldiers have contracted the virus. Picture: AP

Just over a dozen Irish peacekeeping troops have contracted Covid-19, it has been confirmed.

The UN Security Council announced last night there have so far been 2,486 cases of Covid-19 among all UN personnel and 24 deaths.

The Defence Forces has now confirmed that among the 580 or so Irish troops serving overseas at any one time in up to up to 13 countries, a total of 13 soldiers have contracted the virus.

“No fatalities have resulted from these infections and our operational effectiveness has not been impacted,” a spokesperson said, adding that all pre-deployment training has included Covid-19 awareness briefs ever since the UN first issued Covid-19 guidance last February.

Defence Forces cases

Recently, the Irish Examiner reported that as many as 11 members of the Air Corps tested positive for Covid-19 over the New Year period.

It was also revealed earlier this year that two Naval Service ships had to be pulled out of operation temporarily due to crews testing positive for the virus.

One of the first known cases in the Defence Forces was last March when a single member of the Air Corps tested positive.

His positive test followed a return from Italy of a number of other Air Corps staff earlier in the month.

Last October, members of the Air Corps had to self-isolate after one of their colleagues tested positive for Covid-19 after a spell of emergency training abroad. 

They belonged to a pod in the 101 Squadron, the Air Corps’ Maritime Patrol Squadron.

Most operational units within the Defence Forces are currently operating in pods as a measure to avoid the virus spreading throughout the army, navy or Air Force.

As a result, many personnel are restricted from seeing their families for prolonged periods of time.

The UN Security Council, on which Ireland has a seat, released the latest Covid-19 figures for UN personnel in a Security Council video conference on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on international peace and security.

Senior officials warned: "The sweeping and devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are continuing to grow. So too are the risks of instability and tension amidst glaring inequalities in the global recovery."

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