Details of enhanced COVID-19 screening for Australia-bound Marines revealed

Enhanced screening and quarantine procedures will be put in place for the Marines coming to Northern Territory for this year’s Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) deployment, as the deployment is set to start in early June due to delays brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The additional measures will see each Marine being screened four days prior to departure for Australia. They will then be screened and tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia, before being quarantined for 14 days at specially prepared Defence facilities in the Darwin area.

Each Marine will then be re-tested again at the conclusion of the quarantine period.

The measures, announced by Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds earlier today, are being put in place “ensure the safe and effective conduct” of this year’s rotation, which will see the first group of US Marines arrive at RAAF Base Darwin in early June following the earlier decision to delay it due to the pandemic.

Senator Reynolds said the deployment demonstrates Australia’s close defence relationship with the United States.

“I am pleased that the modified deployment will proceed this year, following careful planning and preparations undertaken by both Australia and the United States to minimise COVID-19 risks to the Northern Territory”, she added.

The modified rotation will involve around 1,200 Marines who will exercise exclusively at Defence training areas in the Northern Territory until September, in contrast with previous rotations which usually start in late March or early April and lasts about six months.

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Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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