The ADF is moving to 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, NT and WA state coordination centres, with additional teams ready to assist remaining states and territories.
Contact Tracing Support Teams are also being established nationwide with a team of ADF personnel supporting NSW Health from Sunday.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said 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.
“Defence continues to follow the advice of Australian health authorities when prioritising its support arrangements.
“We will continue to ensure Defence medical facilities are appropriately staffed to minimise any impact on our public health system.”
Defence has provided a range of logistical and personnel support in response to COVID-19. These include 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, supporting the Department of Health with logistics and specialist staff, and establishing a taskforce to coordinate Defence’s contribution.
The ADF has also provided a small team of engineering maintenance specialists to a surgical face mask factory until supplementary civilian workers can be recruited.