The Australian Defence Force will further support the national response to COVID-19 by deploying additional personnel to assist state and territory health authorities.
Reconnaissance and Planning Support Teams have been embedded in the Victorian, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian state co-ordination centres.
Aside from providing logistical aid, Contact Tracing Support Teams are also being established in all states and territories, with a team of ADF personnel supporting NSW Health from yesterday.
Teams comprised of ADF medical staff and allied health professionals are involved throughout the contact tracing process, which involves the identification of people who may have come into contact with an infected person.
According to an update provided by Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds' office, additional teams are also ready to deploy to assist Tasmania, NSW and the ACT
The minister said that the teams will contribute to the overall strength and resilience of the Australian health system in this challenging time.
“These ADF teams will provide logistics, transport, health and general planning assistance as the workload of civilian medical teams continues to increase as more Australians are diagnosed with, or affected by, COVID-19,” Minister Reynolds said.
“We will continue to ensure Defence medical facilities are appropriately staffed to minimise any impact on our public health system.”
Defence has already provided a range of logistical and personnel support in response to COVID-19, including, but not limited to:
- supplying clinical and epidemiological support to the Department of Health National Incident Room since early February;
- supporting repatriations to Christmas Island and Howard Springs via RAAF Bases Learmonth and Darwin;
- providing health, logistics and movements support to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Border Force repatriation and care of Australian nationals;
- supporting Emergency Management Australia-led (EMA) planning for the National Communicable Disease Incidence of National Significance Plan in response to COVID-19;
- supporting the Department of Health with logistics and specialist staff;
- providing a small team of highly qualified engineering maintenance specialists to a surgical face mask factory until supplementary civilian workers can be recruited; and
- the establishment of a Three-Star-led taskforce to co-ordinate Defence’s contribution to whole-of-government efforts and manage its people.
“Defence continues to follow the advice of Australian health authorities when prioritising its support arrangements,” Minister Reynolds said.
The news comes amid a host of other measures levelled by Australian authorities at curbing the spread of the virus.
For further information regarding the Australian government's response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, refer to the Australian Department of Health page here.