Downing Street has asked the Ministry of Defence to tabletop exercises to simulate the combined threat of a second wave of coronavirus, a serious flu outbreak, Brexit and flooding. The Ministry of Defence will perform the exercises in conjunction with Whitehall departments as well as local authorities by the end of August.
The Government worries a second wave of coronavirus could overpower the NHS bringing it to its knees.
The tabletop exercises will involve planning for a second wave of the deadly disease.
The Brexit transition period is also due to end on 31 December which could lead to food shortages and queues at ports in a worse case scenario if a trade deal with the EU is not in place.
Major flooding incidents have also been declared in England and parts of Wales earlier this year.
Boris Johnson has ordered the British army to prepare for four major disasters this winter
The Government worries a second wave of coronavirus could overpower the NHS
The warnings came after heavy rains drenched the UK due to Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara.
Six of the top 10 wettest years on record have happened in the last 20 years.
Lieutenant General Douglas Chalmers, the head of military strategy and operations at the Ministry of Defence, discussed the plans with the House of Lords public services committee who are analysing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “The COVID-19 crisis is still very firmly with us, and definitely as we look towards the winter now, we know about the normal flu season.
Downing Street has asked the Ministry of Defence to tabletop exercises
“We’re obviously transitioning out of the EU, and we have our normal floods etc that come on.
“So we are looking very heavily at how we do winter preparedness and we will support, because we run tabletop exercises very routinely, we will support some of the departmental tabletop exercising.
“No10 has been very clear those tabletop exercises need to be done by the end of August in order that we can learn from them and then act on some of those elements that have been brought forward.”
This comes after Mr Johnson said he does not want to impose a second national lockdown in the event of another outbreak of COVID-19.
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Boris Johnson orders army to plan for COVID-19, Brexit, flu and flood catastrophe
Major flooding incidents have been declared in England and parts of Wales earlier this year
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister compared a second nationwide shutdown to a “nuclear deterrent”.
Mr Johnson added he does not think the country “will be in that position again”.
He also said authorities were getting better at identifying and isolating local outbreaks.
But added the power to order a national shutdown will remain an option.
He said: “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent.
“But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it.
“And nor do I think we will be in that position again.”
So far 45,318 confirmed deaths due to the coronavirus have been reported in the UK
Mr Johnson said experts are improving their abilities to spot the disease, isolate local outbreaks and identify those people affected.
He added: “We’re genuinely able now to look at what’s happening in much closer to real time, to isolate outbreaks and to address them on the spot, and to work with local authorities to contain the problem locally and regionally if we have to.”
So far 45,318 confirmed deaths due to the coronavirus have been reported in the UK.