The ADF is temporarily relocating non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of COVID-19.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australia regularly reviews its operational requirements in concert with Coalition partners and in consultation with the Iraqi and Afghanistan governments.
“Non-essential personnel will be relocated to Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East and those who are close to concluding their operational duties will be able to return home,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This temporary measure is to preserve the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in operational areas.
“There will be no impact to the force-protection of ADF personnel remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the suspension of training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Australia will continue to review its force posture and resume training in the region 'when it is safe to do so.'
Lieutenant General John Frewen is heading a COVID-19 taskforce, working offline from his role as Principal Deputy Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate for the duration of his appointment. ADF members returning from deployment are following all quarantine and protective measures from the Department of Health.
Defence also says it is monitoring the impact of the virus on the industry supply chain.