THE ARMY has come to Cumbria to help out in the fight against the Coronavirus contagion.

On Wednesday they came to Penrith Leisure Centre to set up the first of five recovery centres which is part of the NHS's effort for an additional 500 patient beds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional beds will be available when hospitals reach full capacity.

Over three days the army plan to also establish similar faclilties at Whitehaven Sports Centre, The Sands Centre in Carlisle, Kendal Leisure Centre and Furness Academy in Barrow.

Undertaking the task were soldiers from The Duke Of Lancaster’s Regiment.

The request for army support was submitted by the Local Resilience Forum in Cumbria

Each of the five centres will each have a capacity of up to 100 - it’s the first such initiative in the UK.

Major Pete Hodgson, from the regiment, said: The battalion was tasked was tasked with supplying the NHS with the five patient recovery centres.

"The task was due to last three days, however, as always we remain flexible in supporting the NHS where possible so any other tasks that come along we remain on standby to support."

Lyn Simpson, chief executive of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We welcome the news that additional bed capacity will be available to us in the coming weeks in anticipation of increased demand on our services. We are very grateful for the fantastic response from our multi agency partners.”