Australia adjusts Middle East military posture over COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in an adjustment of the ADF’s posture in the Middle East.

Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynold’s office has said that the ADF is temporarily relocating non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of COVID-19, with these to 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.

“This temporary measure is to preserve the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in operational areas”, she added.

The global spread of the COVID-19 virus has also meant that the ADF’s training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been suspended, but the minister’s statement also added Australia will continue to review its force posture and resume training in the region when it is safe to do so.

It also stressed that details relating to personnel numbers being relocated cannot be provided for operational security reasons.

Back in Australia, the number of ADF personnel testing positive for COVID-19 has risen to nine. Defence’s COVID-19 tracker reported that a majority (six) of these are located in New South Wales, with a further one each in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria as of 5pm today.

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