Australian military reviews offshore exercises amid COVID-19 outbreak

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has begun reviewing its offshore operations amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Hundreds of ADF troops are currently taking part in multinational training exercises, including 370 Royal Australian Air Force personnel training with counterparts from Japan.

News Corp Australia reported on Saturday that overseas military commitments are now being reviewed amid concerns that the troops are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced that the government has activated a plan to address the virus.

Under the worst-case scenario, the ADF could be declared a “national response agency,” meaning troops would be deployed as biosecurity officers to enforce domestic safety and security measures.

“Defence participates in whole-of-government efforts to ensure appropriate plans are in place for all ADF members, Defence civilians and contractors; this is integrated into all planning, both in Australia and on operations,” an ADF spokesperson told News Corp.

All ADF members returning from service abroad will be subjected to quarantine and protective measures at the direction of the Australian Border Force and the Department of Health.

The Royal Australian Navy is taking particularly strong precautions as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships.

“Navy is actively assessing the risks associated with COVID-19 in regions in which warships are deployed,” a Navy spokesman said. Enditem

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