The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra announced on 23 March that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will temporarily relocate non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan over concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued that same day Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said "non-essential personnel will be relocated to Australia's main logistics base in the Middle East [Al Mindad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates], and those who are close to concluding their operational duties will be able to return home".
The minister, said that the measure is aimed at "preserving the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of Covid-19 in operational areas", and emphasised that the move will have no impact on the force-protection of ADF personnel remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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