With the ever-growing threat of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), affecting more than 90,000 people worldwide, Canada’s military is now looking at “pre-pandemic alert/and preparation.”
A CANFORGEN released by the Chief of the Defence Staff on Thursday outlines measures to prevent the disease in case of an outbreak to protect both military members and civilians.
The CANFORGEN reads “The purpose of that tasking order is to ensure that the CAF implements measures to maintain CAF operational effectiveness and readiness, preserve essential health services for MBRS, and maintain responsive support to civil authorities as part of the GC response,” regarding the new Laser Phase 2 enacted by the CDS.
Specifically, the notice highlights travel restrictions for CAF members. Military members will only be able to travel to a country experiencing an outbreak of the virus if it is operationally essential.
All non-essential leave requests to travel abroad will now be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If a military member’s vacation request is cancelled or denied, the military will reimburse.
The note also calls for an increase of protection to supply chains and potential cordons that may limit movement.
The CDS has also called on commanders to reassess all scheduled CAF activities that involve large gatherings and be prepared to postpone or altogether cancel such events “should Canada need to transition to pandemic mitigation.”
COVID-19 was first identified in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China. Since its outbreak in late 2019, the virus has spread globally, causing more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. According to Global News, there are a total of 30 reported cases of the virus in Canada.
The virus can be mild for some while severe for others. Common symptoms are similar to those of the flu. The symptoms include fever cough and shortness of breath.
In his CANFORGEN, Gen. Jonathan Vance has also stressed preventative measures for all CAF members to take, including staying home if ill, washing hands frequently, and maintaining a generally high standard of hygiene.