Nuclear submarine crews to be held in quarantine prior to deployment to reduce coronavirus risk 

Each four month patrol is likely to be extended by a two-week isolation period for the crew before deployment

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HMS Vengeance, commissioned in 1999, one of Britain's four nuclear-armed deterrent submarines.
HMS Vengeance, commissioned in 1999, one of Britain's four nuclear-armed deterrent submarines. Credit: Getty Images Europe

The next patrol of Britain’s nuclear deterrent submarine will be held in quarantine ahead of the deployment, so as to provide a 'clean crew'. 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic the crew of the next nuclear-armed submarine to leave on patrol will initially be held in isolation for two weeks, the Telegraph understands.

The Royal Navy has had a nuclear submarine at sea somewhere around the world every day since 1969. It is the highest priority task of the armed forces. 

The MoD announced last week it had cancelled all Rest and Recuperation (R and R) for troops deployed on operations in a bid to protect military personnel. The Telegraph understands this policy has been adapted to cover Britain’s four Vanguard-Class nuclear armed submarines, based at Faslane naval base near Glasgow.

A typical patrol for each nuclear powered boat, armed with up to 180 nuclear warheads, is around four months. During this time the crew will have very limited communication with family back home. 

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical equipment to St Thomas' hospital, London. March 24, 2020. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe

Meanwhile armed forces personnel have started to assist NHS England by distributing personal protective equipment to NHS facilities.

Soldiers delivered over 50,000 face masks at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, on Tuesday morning. 

Brigadier Phil Prosser, Commander of 101 Logistics Brigade, who oversaw the delivery, said: “What you’ve seen today is a British Army convoy delivering personal protective equipment right to the frontline of the nation’s response to the coronavirus challenge. 

“But this is more than just delivering masks - this is a demonstration the British Army is standing side by side with the NHS.”