NZDF to postpone international rotations of personnel due to Covid-19

17 April 2020 (Last Updated April 17th, 2020 14:11)

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is set to postpone some of its routine personnel rotations to international missions due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

NZDF to postpone international rotations of personnel due to Covid-19
A member of the New Zealand Defence Force at the militarised border between North and South Korea. Credit: New Zealand Defence Force / Medium.

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The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is set to postpone some of its routine personnel rotations to international missions due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

The move is intended at accommodating border and travel restrictions globally due to the pandemic.

New Zealand Commander Joint Forces Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said that NZDF supported prior commitments and maintained international missions. Hence, the operations continued, without any withdrawal.

However, an exception had to be made to the deployed forces to South Korea.

Currently, the five personnel deployed to the United Nations Command and Military Armistice Commission are undergoing 14 days of self-isolation in Seoul.

Gilmour said: “Usually we would be rotating personnel on missions after six or 12 months, depending on the nature of the deployment.

“However, because of border closures, travel restrictions and other measures imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 we are compelled to postpone several planned rotations of personnel.”

Border and travel restrictions will be monitored by staff at Headquarters Joint Forces. Following the relaxation of restrictions, the rotations of personnel will be resumed.

Gilmour further added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant disruption to the way of life and way of working all around the world, and we acknowledge the impact the delays will have on the personnel who had been due to return to New Zealand and their families here in New Zealand.

“It is a challenging time for those separated from their families and also those here at home.

“NZDF personnel have a keen sense of duty and are proud to serve their country. We will resume our regular rotations of personnel as soon as conditions allow.”

The NZDF continued to maintain international missions and commitments including search and rescue.

Support was also extended to the All of Government response to stamp out Covid-19 in New Zealand.