The Australian Defence Force says it has expanded its support to Victoria’s COVID-19 response, with around 1400 personnel now actually* deployed in Victoria at the request of State authorities.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy Seaman Kirie South, from HMAS Cerberus, checks a driver’s details at a vehicle control point in Victoria, assisting the Victoria Police Force during Op COVID-19 Assist. Photo by Leading Aircraftman John Solomon.
In a press release this afternoon, Defence said around 300 ADF personnel are providing support to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in contact tracing, data management, logistics and planning; about 200 personnel are supporting Victoria Police, including at checkpoints, in logistics, planning, the Police Assistance Phone Line, and CBD community engagements; about 200 medical personnel are supporting public health testing in Melbourne and four regional centres – Shepparton, Bendigo, Wangaratta and Horsham; and, 20 personnel are undertaking general duties training with Ambulance Victoria to support paramedics with the transport of non-emergency patients if required.
Without giving specific numbers, Defence said ADF personnel were also accompanying DHHS-authorised officers visiting homes to provide infection notifications to those uncontactable by phone; Assisting Emergency Management Victoria’s Regional Control Centre and its Incident Management Teams (IMT) in Colac and Castlemaine; and, planning support to the Victoria State Control Centre.
Defence also has personnel ready to provide further support to aged-care facilities and at the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Defence was well prepared to assist.
“This is a complex and evolving situation, but Australians can be confident Defence is always ready to assist in times of need,” Minister Reynolds said.
“In addition to the Joint Task Force personnel in Victoria, we have embedded senior ADF officer Commodore Mark Hill in DHHS to provide advice on command and coordination arrangements to boost their capacity to respond to the crisis.
“The ADF has highly trained and capable personnel with their skills that can be used in a variety of settings depending on the task.
“When the call came, ADF nurses were on the ground in an aged care facility supporting residents in less than two hours, demonstrating their flexibility and professionalism.”
Minister Reynolds said Defence was also benefitting from the partnerships it built with Victorian agencies during the devastating bushfires in Victoria.
“Whether it’s in frontline medical roles or in complex planning, Defence is expanding and amplifying the capabilities of Victorian agencies to stop the spread and save lives.”
There are currently about 3200 ADF personnel deployed around the country providing support to state and territory authorities on Operation COVID-19 Assist.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third official announcement that more than 1000 ADF were deploying to Victoria – and the first to actually happen 😉