As the coronavirus outbreak continues to exact a high death toll in Britain, and triggers political rows in the process, the British military remains tight-lipped on the extent of infections amongst its ranks.
Concerns about coronavirus infection amongst British military personnel have heightened following relatively frank disclosures by allied militaries.
In the latest disclosure the French military has confirmed that 50 crew members on board France’s sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, have contracted COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
The French disclosure came in the wake of confirmation by the US navy that 416 crew members onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a US navy aircraft carrier docked in Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, have contracted COVID-19.
Yet despite the disclosure by its allies, the British military steadfastly refuses to release any figures on the extent of coronavirus infections within its ranks.
The only confirmed cases relate to the occupied Malvinas Islands (which the British call Falkland Islands) where five British service personnel are known to be infected with the coronavirus.
There are at least five confirmed cases of #coronavirus at Britain’s military base in the Falkland Islands. But @DefenceHQ has only confirmed one even though the Falkland Islands government has confirmed five— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) April 10, 2020
In view of the relatively small British military contingent on the occupied Malvinas - 1,300 personnel are based at Mount Pleasant in Isla Soledad, which the British call East Falkland – five cases of coronavrius are not insubstantial.
The statistically significant infection rate amongst the British garrison on the occupied Malvinas Islands is fuelling speculation that the extent of infection in the British military as a whole is considerable.