Australian Army Reservists May Be Deployed In The Battle Against Coronavirus

Governor General David Hurley inspects the Royal Guard during the Flag Raising Ceremony at Lake Burley Griffin on January 26, 2020 in Canberra, Australia
Rohan Thomson / Getty Images

As Australia steps up its defense against the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Australian Army reservists are now being contacted regarding potential duties, according to 7 News Australia.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Australia is already employing police officers in some supermarkets as a way to deter panic buying and disputes arising regarding supply shortages. However, now that stage two restrictions were enforced from Wednesday, it is believed that Australian Army reservists could be called up to help enforce these new measures in an effort to help flatten the potentially deadly curve caused by the virus.

In Australia, people are currently being urged to stay at home as much as possible and only to venture out on essential trips, such as grocery shopping, work, and medical appointments. They were instructed to engage in social distancing while outside the home. Earlier in the week, many social venues had been closed down to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, weddings were limited to five people present with funerals only allowing 10 people present.

The Australian Army had already been called up regarding helping to enforce these new rules, according to another article by 7 News Australia. Their current job description during the coronavirus outbreak is to help “provide logistics, transport, health, and general planning help as civilian medical teams begin to groan under the weight of increasing COVID-19 diagnoses.”

While a call-out has been issued to reservists, it is believed that emergency services and health workers were excluded.

However, with reservists being called to potential active duty, many fear that the country is only days away from entering much stricter stage three restrictions, especially considering these reservists could be deployed as early as Friday, according to 7 News Australia. While Prime Minister Scott Morrison hoped that a stricter stage would not have to be implemented, he did allude to the fact that it was likely inevitable given the continued growth in positive cases of COVID-19.

While there is some concern over the potential of stricter measures being enforced, according to The Guardian, contact with reservists in a normal standard procedure ahead of a known crisis. Carmen Sieger, the acting director of the directorate of the contingent workforce management army, sent out an email last week to reservists asking for a resume as well as what type of work they would be prepared to undertake and in what capacity.

“Please note this request for help may not result in an employment opportunity; it is a contingency created to cover any current and future time-sensitive work,” Sieger said.

Another spokesperson for the Australian defense department also insisted that the contact was not in response to the loss of jobs in the country resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is normal practice for Defence – to plan and prepare for support to Commonwealth, state and territory authorities in times of need,” the spokesperson also said.