13 October

New Zealand Ministry of Defence has released a biodefence assessment that examines the role of the country’s defence force in supporting wider government agencies’ biodefence activities. Titled ‘Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats’, the assessment has been developed in consultation with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and other government agencies. Defence Minister Ron Mark said: “The Defence Force plays an important role supporting other government agencies, such as MPI, DOC, and Police, in reducing, readying for, responding to, and recovering from biological hazards and threats.” This kind of support is currently seen in the way NZDF is responding and supporting to Covid-19 crisis.

Reservists have been mobilised in support of Operation RESCRIPT, the UK Armed Forces contribution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The reservists were initially put on 48-hour standby under the high-readiness contingency force to assist the NHS. Currently, around 20 personnel are supporting mobile testing in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. They are working together with RAF Benson 606 Squadron personnel.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have expanded their partnership with AstraZeneca. Under an agreement, the company has been contracted for late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of the company’s Covid-19 investigational product, AZD7442. The agreement is intended to meet the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed goals.