Swiss army says preparing to deploy to assist virus fight
Geneva: Switzerland’s armed forces said Saturday that the army is prepared to deploy to help in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more tha 1,000 people in the country.
The army will as of Monday deploy one of its four hospital battalions, army chief Thomas Sussli said in a tweet overnight.
The battalion will carry out a “special service towards the security and protection of us all,” he wrote.
While he did not clarify the specific service to be provided, he pointed out that more than 90 percent of the personnel in Switzerland’s hospital battalions “work in other professions, but have civilian-recognised, military-acquired basic care training.”
Army spokesman Daniel Reist told AFP that the battalion, made up of between 500 and 600 people, will be prepared to support work at hospitals across the country if requested, especially taking on logistical tasks.
“There has not yet been a request,” he said.
The army, which in Switzerland is organised as a militia, with conscripts carrying out a short initial training and then being called back in for several weeks of training each year, also counts doctors and specialists in its ranks, but they have been asked to remain in their civilian positions. – AFP