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Family ties are tested in the battle against Covid

Lance Corporal Thomas Harcourt, a soldier from 36 Engineer Regiment and member of the team at the Dover Discovery Centre, is one of the soldiers delivering the lateral flow test in the centre and has recently had the job of testing his older sibling.

20 Field Squadron from 36 Engineer Regiment, based in Maidstone, have been running one of many asymptomatic test centres in the Dover Discovery Centre since 7th January. The Squadron is part of the Kent Resilience Unit, a bespoke unit created to support Kent during the pandemic, which is part of the military's wider contribution to the UK's fight against COVID-19.

Asymptomatic Test Centres are for those in the community that have no COVID-19 symptoms but would like a lateral flow test (LFT) to ensure that they are not a carrier. Many key workers use this service as the turnaround for results is less than an hour and the service can be used on a regular basis.

The site has already notified over 40 people that they are positive, meaning that they are now isolating and, in turn, protecting their community by breaking the chain of transmission. 

We are very proud to be playing a small part in the fight against the Coronavirus.” LCpl Harcourt

Thomas’ older sister Laura who still lives in Dover was one of those requiring a test, so came into Dover Discovery Centre. She said, “During such tough times, it’s amazing to see my little brother back in his hometown, doing his part to help the people of Dover during this pandemic.”   

Describing the testing experience and the facilities Laura went on to add, “The site was very well organised and managed. My results came back within 45 minutes, which is fantastic given how many tests they must do during the day.” 

Thomas was born and brought up in Dover and joined the Army aged 17. He has previously been deployed on a United Nations Peacekeeping mission to South Sudan, where he used his fabricator skills, in which he was trained by the Army, but deploying to his hometown of Dover has been a different experience altogether. 

He said, “One of the striking differences has been the fact that I am directly helping those at home, and it is so nice to hear and receive the warm thanks and praise the members of public are providing when visiting the testing centre. It has been comforting to know that what the team and I are doing is having a direct impact on the community. We are very proud to be playing a small part in the fight against the Coronavirus.”