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Defence Response to COVID 19

Defence Response to COVID-19


Defence is supporting the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the COVID-19 Taskforce.

To address the risk of COVID-19 infection within Defence and the general community, all Australian Defence Force (ADF), Defence Australian Public Servants (APS) and contractors working in Defence establishments who present with cold/flu like symptoms must remove themselves from the workplace and notify their supervisor/Chain of Command.

Call 1800 IMSICK (1800 467 425) or 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362) for advice.

During Operation COVID-19 ASSIST, about 2,200 ADF personnel have been supporting the Government’s response to COVID-19. Find out more about our ADF response here.

We’re also adjusting our operations, training, activities and business to follow the relevant government health guidelines, while maintaining operational readiness.

ADF and Defence APS members are expected to follow the direction of the Federal and state and territory governments to refrain from all non-essential travel.


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Defence appreciates these are extraordinary times and recognises all essential workers have an important role to play in supporting the Government’s response to COVID-19.

The health and wellbeing of our personnel is the priority as Defence continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Each and every one of us can take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Defence is following whole-of-government guidance from the Department of Health in relation to COVID-19.

The number of confirmed and recovered Defence COVID-19 cases can be found here.

If you’re a member of the ADF and suspect you have contracted, or been diagnosed with Coronavirus, please visit Joint Health Command.


As part of Defence’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) is providing information, support and resources to assist ADF members and their families.

ADF members and their families can stay up to date with information on support through the DCO website, ForceNet, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Defence Family Helpline is available 24/7 on 1800 624 608 or and is staff ed by qualified human services professionals including social workers and psychologists.

There are a number of additional resources and support services available to ADF families experiencing emergency or crisis and for those managing deployment and time apart.

Families are asked to support Defence childcare centres in protecting the health and wellbeing of all children and staff. If you have concerns, contact your centre or call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline.


Defence has established a COVID-19 taskforce led by Lieutenant General John Frewen DSC AM. Lieutenant General Frewen is working offline from his role as Principal Deputy Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate for the duration of his appointment to the taskforce.

The taskforce has been established to coordinate Defence’s contribution to the whole-of-government response, ensure departmental resilience and we are well prepared to continue business in light of COVID-19.

To date, Defence assistance has included reconnaissance, planning and contact tracing teams, medical assistance in north-west Tasmania, supporting mandatory quarantine arrangements, and supporting state and territory police border controls.

Additionally, Defence has contributed to the production of surgical face masks and ventilators

Keep up to date with the latest developments here


ADF members returning from operations and exercises abroad are subject to all quarantine and protective measures as directed by the Australian Border Force and the Department of Health.

Defence continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in Australia and around the globe, and continues to assess the risk to its operations and exercises.

In line with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Australian Government, Defence is currently reconsidering the status of its upcoming events to ensure the safety of personnel involved.

A number of major exercises and activities have been cancelled or paused, including Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2020, Exercise Pitch Black and Exercise Hamel.


Defence is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on Australian industry and the supply chains that support ADF capability.

Contractors working in Defence premises are advised to seek care through their usual health care provider and to call 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362) to help Defence implement preventative measures and monitor potential impacts on operations.

View information on how we are assisting defence industry and protocols for contracted arrangements.

Contact the Defence COVID-19 Industry Support Cell for further assistance and to submit proposals.

The Centre for Defence Industry Capability helps small businesses connect, build, innovate and export in the defence industry. View information on COVID-19 assistance for businesses.