NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has unveiled the Alliance’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as Armies across the world are temporarily putting down their weapons and playing an active role in the war against coronavirus.
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) played a critical role in curbing the covid-19 epidemics in China by providing essential logistics services, and building at breakneck speed and running by the Wuhan hospital.
Armies are now easing the burden on overwhelmed civilians, but it may have far-reaching implications for the forces’ military proficiency.
NATO response Covid-19 outbreak
Stoltenberg outlined the steps NATO is contain the spread of the outbreak, reduce the risks to troops and civilians while ensuring the Alliance’s essential work continues.
Stoltenberg welcomed the swift response and stressed that NATO forces remain ready to keep the Alliance safe.
NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod Wolters, underlined that the Alliance’s ability to conduct its missions, operations and activities has not been affected – including air policing, maritime deployments, NATO’s multinational battlegroups in the eastern regions, and operations from Kosovo and Afghanistan.
However, NATO members states are start pulling out of war zones. France is pulling out its military forces from Iraq as armed forces are increasingly called upon to help fight the coronavirus at home.
The chief of staff of the French armed forces announced that Paris is suspending its anti-terrorism training operations in Iraq and withdrawing its Iraq-based troops involved in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group. France also said that it will maintain operations in Qatar and Kuwait, and air force missions over Syria.
Also, the US Army significantly reduces the size and scope of DEFENDER-Europe 2020 military exercise intended to test the Army’s ability to move a divisional force from US seaports to European training grounds this spring.
Stoltenberg said that NATO has been working to strengthen the resilience of Allies, including the health sector. “We will continue to consult, monitor the situation and take all necessary measures,” he added.
In the meanwhile, countries like Ukraine have requested NATO assistance to respond to COVID-19 outbreak. On 23 March, the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) received a request for international assistance from Ukrainian Armed Forces in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.