COVID response continues in Fiji

The ADF has provided airlift capability to transfer critical personnel, stores and equipment to Fiji in support of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19.

CAPTION: Humanitarian aid equipment is loaded into a No. 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III aircraft bound for Fiji. Story by Lieutenant Gordon Carr-Gregg. Photo by Sergeant Ben Dempster.

Personnel and equipment were flown from RAAF Base Amberley to Nadi on a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft on July 14.

Australia is working closely with the Government of Fiji to support its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to help protect the health and security of our close friends and Pacific neighbours and strengthen our shared recovery as a region.

Eleven members of a 17-person medical assistance team were flown to Fiji on along with three fully equipped ambulances, oxygen equipment, stretcher beds, personal protective equipment and laboratory machines to boost community testing.

This is the second team of expert medical personnel Australia and New Zealand have deployed to help Fiji through the COVID-19 crisis. The team will work with Fiji’s frontline health workers to strengthen infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities, provide training and establish temporary surge healthcare facilities as required.

Commanding Officer of No. 36 Squadron Wing Commander Dean Bolton said the Australian Government regularly called upon the squadron to help those in need.

“We have flown numerous missions to Fiji recently providing COVID-19 relief and support for the recovery after Tropical Cyclone Yasa in December 2020,” Wing Commander Bolton said.

“36 Squadron remains highly capable of conducting its role despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic and are ready to respond to Government tasking throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“The opportunity to support our Fijian friends is warmly received.

“We have developed a depth of experience in executing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, including navigating the challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The mission was completed in a manner that reduced the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including minimising the number of personnel involved and limiting interaction with supporting agencies on the ground at the destination.”

Introduced to Air Force service in December 2006, the C-17A is an integral part of Australia’s humanitarian assistance in the region.





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