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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is set to establish Operation Covid-19 ASSIST, which will allow it to expand support to the national coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic response.

Operation Covid-19 ASSIST will be led by Major General Paul Kenny and aims to coordinate and deliver the military aspects of ADF’s support to civilian agencies.

Previously, Kenny served as Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism Operations Director General.

The operation will consist of seven state-and-territory-based task groups.

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By GlobalData

Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The ADF is contributing to a national response to protect Australians and support state and territory capacity in a time of crisis.

“Under Operation Covid-19 ASSIST, Defence will provide customised support to state and territory authorities, to reinforce and expand their capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Last month, the ADF established a Covid-19 task force to coordinate its internal response to the pandemic. It also extended support to the whole-of-government effort to address the impacts of Covid-19.

The ADF’s Assistance will be coordinated through the Emergency Management Australia-led whole-of-government response to Covid-19.

Reynolds further added: “There are already around 570 ADF members providing support including contact tracing, planning assistance, and assisting police with mandatory quarantine arrangements for international air arrivals.

“The Covid-19 pandemic requires a proactive national response and Defence is well postured to provide scalable support to states and territories, as needed, for the duration of this effort.”

Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell said that the capability and capacity of Australia Defence is ready, willing and able to assist as per the need of the hour.