More than 5,000 Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to support the Covid-19 response across the UK.
The Ministry of Defence say this is more than at any previous point in the pandemic and the biggest homeland operation the UK has ever seen in peacetime.
The Armed Forces are working on 70 different tasks ranging from schools testing to the rollout of vaccines.
And from today, the Army will assist with targeted coronavirus testing throughout Greater Manchester.
Some 800 personnel deploying from nine regiments will prepare to work across all 10 local authority areas in the region to carry out asymptomatic testing of specific populations.
Those targeted will be people at higher risk of infection such as social care staff, key workers, public facing occupations such as bus drivers, and those in high risk environments such care homes and shared accommodation for the homeless.
The task follows similar asymptomatic community testing in Liverpool, Lancashire, Merthyr Tydfil, Medway, and Kirklees.
The Armed Forces involvement was requested by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), through the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
In addition to community testing, military personnel remain on-task testing hauliers in Dover and helping to establish ten new testing sites to improve the flow of traffic across the Channel. The Government say that as of today, 515 personnel are on task in Kent and elsewhere providing testing to hauliers.
There are 1,500 Armed Forces personnel supporting schools testing, with local response teams providing virtual support and phone advice to institutions.
Personnel are also on standby to deploy at short notice to provide in-person support.
Testing is set to continue as planned with two rapid lateral flow tests available to all secondary school and college students and staff at the start of term to identify asymptomatic cases, break chains of transmission and beat the virus.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The new year will see new levels of Armed Forces support to overcoming this pandemic. Thousands of service personnel are working throughout the United Kingdom, wherever they are needed to assist the civil authorities.
“Manchester is the latest of those tasks and will be an important contribution to protecting the highest risk groups as the city seeks to recover.”
England Health Secretary Matt Hancock said asymptomatic testing is “crucial” to identifying those who might be unknowingly infected.
He said: “We are enormously grateful to the Armed Forces for lending their support to these important community testing programmes.
Around one in three people with coronavirus showing no symptoms, asymptomatic testing is crucial to identifying those who might be unknowingly infected, and protecting our most vulnerable.
“These community testing schemes are part of a national testing programme with millions of lateral flow tests arriving in schools tomorrow, for the testing of students and staff, to add to the hundreds of thousands of asymptomatic tests currently being conducted in care homes, across the NHS and in critical infrastructure workplaces and food manufacturers.
“While the Army, alongside thousands of medical professionals and volunteers, help roll out the vaccination programme, we must remember that the first line of defence against the virus remains to wash our hands, cover our faces and keep space.”