Updated 22 Mar 2020
Defence has updated its COVID-19 running total to reflect that it is now has seven confirmed cases of the disease – while also assisting other government agencies deal with the emergency.
The first two Defence cases were reported on 10 March, giving details of where the pair had been, what Defence was doing to trace their movements and who they may have been in contact with, specifically around Russell Offices in Canberra.
A third case was added to the running total on 12 March – and a fourth the following day – and a fifth on 14 March, but with no details offered in any of these cases.
The sixth case was added to the running total on 21 March – and a seventh on 22 March– again with no details, except a map indicating four cases in Sydney and one each in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.
More broadly, Defence says it has provided a range of logistical and personnel support including but not limited to:
- 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 (ABF) repatriation and care of Australian nationals;
- supporting the Emergency Management Australia-led (EMA) Whole-of-Government planning for the National Communicable Disease Incidence of National Significance Plan in response to COVID-19;
- supporting the Department of Health with logistics and by providing specialist staff; and
- providing a small team of highly qualified engineering maintenance specialists to a surgical face mask factory until supplementary civilian workers can be recruited.
The ADF is temporarily assisting Australia’s only manufacturer of surgical face masks to help satisfy an increase in demand as national stocks of the masks are built up in preparation for COVID-19.
This assistance will allow Med-Con Pty Ltd, a small manufacturer in regional Victoria, to increase production while it recruits more staff.
A small team of highly qualified engineering maintenance specialists are working with the company’s existing staff on production, maintenance and warehousing tasks until the roles can be filled.
The Defence childcare provider, One Tree Community Services, is monitoring requirements to support families and staff as the COVID-19 outbreak progresses.
To help reduce transmission, they have increased focus on children’s hygiene such as hand-washing and have implemented heightened cleaning procedures.
Defence is also developing options to provide ongoing support to Commonwealth and other State/Territory agencies to work in accordance with priorities set by the EMA’s National Coordination Mechanism.
Defence will continue to follow the advice of Australian health authorities.