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Defence Force deployed 700 personnel in Covid-19 lockdown response

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Defence Force deployed 700 personnel in Covid-19 lockdown response

The Defence Force had more than 700 personnel directly involved in the Covid-19 response during alert level 4.

New Zealand Defence Force has helped DOC staff as well as MetService and GNS staff at Rangitāhua / Raoul Island return home after the announcement of the lockdown.

Defence Force helped DOC staff as well as MetService and GNS staff at Rangitāhua / Raoul Island return home after the announcement of the lockdown. Photo: Supplied / DOC

An infographic supplied to RNZ under the Official Information Act shows secondments and equipment used for Operation Protect during March and April.

Eighty personnel were assigned to other agencies – including police, ministries of foreign affairs and health, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The military also provided maintenance support to a Whanganui Personal Protective Equipment manufacturer, as well as distributing care packages in Manawatū.

A planning team also assisted the government’s efforts to repatriate about 23,000 foreigners and New Zealanders.

The bulk of the personnel were in the regions.

In March, Commander Joint Forces Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the NZDF was ready and able to help.

“We have a range of capabilities should these be required to assist in the response to Covid-19, including transport aircraft and vehicles and skilled personnel who can assist other government agencies if needed,” he said.

-RNZ

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