THE ARMY will continue helping two health boards with acute services after their request for the assistance to be extended was approved by the Ministry of Defence.

Army personnel were called in to help NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders in October amid pressures on the health service.

A request by the health boards to extend the acute services Military Aid to the Civilian Authority (MACA) task, which was originally due to last until November 10, has now been approved by Ministry of Defence, the Army said.

In total 84 personnel will continue with the work, with 21 personnel in the Borders and 63 in Lanarkshire.

Their involvement is expected to continue until December 8 in the Borders and December 17 in Lanarkshire, with the timelines kept under regular review.

The Army is also supporting the Scottish Ambulance Service with non-emergency drivers and delivering testing through mobile units.

An Army statement said: “More than 450 Armed Forces personnel are supporting multiple MACA tasks in Scotland. These tasks fall under Operation Rescript, defence’s efforts to support the UK’s response to the pandemic which began in March 2020.

“Defence have supported communities across the UK throughout the pandemic, from planning support alongside resilience teams and governments, to ambulance drivers and health care assistants in hospitals, as well as the vaccine rollout.

“The Armed Forces stand ready to step up and support civil authorities, devolved nations and communities as required in the coming months where the requests meet the MACA principles.”

Meanwhile, the latest daily coronavirus figures show Scotland recorded 17 Covid-linked deaths and 3,349 new cases in the past 24 hours.

It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 9,375.

The daily test positivity rate was 9.8%, up from 8.2% the previous day, according to data published by the Scottish Government on Friday.

There were 759 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down nine, with 55 in intensive care, down five.

So far, 4,325,523 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,922,893 have had their second.