Australian Defence Force (ADF) members from across Victoria are preparing for deployment on Operation COVID-19 Assist. This morning they were briefed and prepared for their upcoming tasks.
CAPTION: Seaman Jack Foulstone practices correct application of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in preparation for their deployment on Operation COVID-19 Assist. Story and photo by Captain Kristen Daisy Clelend.
The Defence members are supporting the Victorian Department of Health to carry out the Household Engagement Program (HEP) across the state.
The HEP aims to visit positive cases, close contacts and returned travellers, to ensure they’re aware of their status, to provide information and support services they may require whilst isolating.
Officer Commanding Task Unit 3, Joint Task Group 629.2, Major Richard Bower, said the situation in Victoria was extremely time sensitive.
“The more support ADF can provide to the Department of Health to carry out these tasks, the more ground they can cover. We can effectively double the capability of the health workers carrying out these tasks,” Major Bower said.
“The priority for this task is initially concentrated in the Melbourne and Bendigo areas, however we’re ready to provide support across Victoria and will continue to rely on direction from the Department of Health in relation to locations for this support.
“We’re preparing ADF members to go anywhere in the state as required.
“Most of these members have come on fairly short notice, and many have travelled for several hours to ensure we can provide this support as soon as possible,” Major Bower said.
Up to 160 ADF personnel will deploy with Joint Task Group 629.2’s Task Unit 3. There are initially 108 Army members, alongside 25 Navy and 27 Air Force, from all areas in Victoria. The Army members are all from Victoria’s 4th Brigade, most reservists, many who have been given time off from their full-time civilian work in order to support this operation.
CAPTION: Australian Defence Force members from across Victoria gather in preparation for their deployment at Task Unit 3, on the Joint Task Force 629.2, Operation COVID-19 Assist. Photo by Captain Kristen Daisy Clelend.