COVID-19 Response

The below information is intended to provide latest updates of our involvement in the response to COVID-19 through Operation PROTECT.

COVID-19 information for our personnel and their families can be found on the Force4Families website.

Information last updated: 18 September 2020

Support to the Government

The Government recently announced an increase in the number of our personnel supporting the All of Government efforts. These personnel will deploy over the coming months and the total expected commitment as a result of the announcements is:

By the numbers

In total, there are currently more than 774 personnel supporting, or preparing to support, tasks as part of Operation PROTECT.

This includes a small group involved in planning and logistical roles at places such as Police National Headquarters, Ministry of Health, and the Operational Command Centre. 

On an operational level, the majority of personnel are involved in security and staff roles at Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities (MIQFs), as well as at the maritime border.

Prepared to help

We are a Force for New Zealand, actively supporting the All of Government COVID-19 response and Operation PROTECT is currently our priority.

Regardless of the alert level, we will continue to play our part in the all of government response while maintaining our normal responsibilities and operational commitments.

We are structured, equipped and trained for a range of crisis contingencies and this is evidenced in the wide range of roles we have filled to date as part of the COVID-19 response.

We are contributing expert personnel in a wide range of planning functions across the All of Government response.

Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities

Our personnel are also currently working alongside other agencies in the Regional Isolation Co-ordination Centres located throughout the country.

Our personnel working in the Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities are providing facilities management and administrative support which allows key government agencies to focus on their roles in managing the safe return of New Zealanders from overseas.

We are just one part of the team working in each Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility. Each team has representatives from Ministry of Health (Health and wellbeing), Defence (Admin and Logistics), Police and Aviation Security (Security) and Ministry of Social Development (Welfare).

Air Commodore Darryn Webb has been seconded to the All of Government COVID-19 National response and is currently the Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ). Air Commodore Webb has been involved in Government repatriation planning efforts since the beginning of April. 

Due to the Government’s request for NZDF to increase its support to the All of Government response, as of 26 August 2020, the Director General of Health has authorised members of the Armed Forces with enforcement officer powers under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.
These powers will allow members of the Armed Forces to operate more effectively and offer some protections for going about their general tasks.
For MIQF security, members of the Armed Forces are now able to give legally enforceable directions, and to request a person to provide identifying information. Examples of directions given may be for a person to stay in their room, and an information request could include a request for someone to provide their name.  

Operational outputs

We continue to maintain our operational outputs

COVID-19 has had an impact on our normal way of doing business, but we have been able to maintain our operational readiness to continue support to both our domestic and international commitments. These international commitments include response to cyclones and repatriation flights, for example the recent flight to Vanuatu.

While our support to our operational deployments continues, additional considerations have been added in to our planning cycles to ensure we are prepared for any contingencies related to COVID-19, and its impact on our ability to move our personnel internationally in a safe manner.

Protecting our personnel

We are actively protecting our personnel so we can continue to protect New Zealand. 

We have an active strategy to protect our personnel throughout the full range of alert levels. Protective measures are in line with Ministry of Health Guidelines and cover both individuals and workplaces.

Personnel working within the Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities comply with the health protection measures required at all times.

There are clear protocols in place within the facilities for when personal protective equipment should be worn. This ranges from no equipment required, to gloves and masks, or full gown, gloves, mask and goggles to be worn depending on the task and circumstance.

If our personnel become symptomatic while working within the Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities, they are isolated on site until they can be assessed by medical personnel. They will be tested for COVID-19 and isolated until the results of that test are known.

If our personnel become symptomatic after leaving a Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility, they immediately self-isolate and contact their closest Defence Health Centre for assessment. They are also required to register on the Ministry of Health website. Any further actions will be in line with Ministry of Health Guidelines and as directed by their health professionals.

Additional consideration has been given to our personnel who live in shared accommodation such as barracks, with each barrack block being treated as a household for the purposes of contact tracing and any required periods of isolation.

Images and video

You can view our imagery and video here.

Contact

Media enquiries about our involvement in the response to Covid-19 can be directed to the All of Government response team at media@mbie.govt.nz

For all other media enquiries, please call Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980 or media@nzdf.mil.nz