There have been cancellations of crucial military exercises and after a mass coronavirus outbreak at Sandhurst.
It has been reported that nearly 50 recruits – including a member of the Qatari royal family tested positive after a breach of social distancing rules by officer cadets. This came after recruits from different “work bubbles” reportedly dined and socialised together, flouting the Covid rules on mixing.
The positive Covid cases have been recorded among the 750 recruits at the prestigious Berkshire academy (attended by Prince William and Harry).
Commanders have been infuriated by the behaviour and vowed to punish the rule-breakers. Some officer cadets could encounter the prospect of failing to complete their courses and joining their regiments unless the outbreak is limited.
“Due to a failure of adherence to FHPI (forces health protection instructions) and with numerous platoons affected by the current mass outbreak within the academy, the below orders are to be enacted to protect officer cadets, staff, families and contractors and are designed to break the current cycle of spread,” Sandhurst’s New College Lieutenant commander Colonel James Lane said.
All unsupervised exercises will be banned while recruits will not be permitted to use gyms or see their families and friends.
He continued: “Action will be taken against any staff or cadets who do not adhere to these measures. The standard punishment for an officer cadet who transgresses is to be three work parades and for a member of staff three additional duties.
“The following are to be implemented with immediate effect: Exercise Allenby’s Advance, cancelled. Colleges are out of bounds to all except those who work in them. All interaction between officer cadets and friends and family at the academy gates is to cease. Gyms are to shut. Alcohol is not to be consumed by officer cadets, irrespective of isolation or quarantine status. We are now dry.”