Major proud of Covid-19 track record

Chief of Army Major-general John Boswell talks with Duncan Peat (101), a World War 2 veteran who...
Chief of Army Major-general John Boswell talks with Duncan Peat (101), a World War 2 veteran who served with the 26th Battalion Infantry in the Middle East. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
New Zealanders can feel "extremely proud" of how we have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, Chief of Army Major-general John Boswell said yesterday.

He was commenting during a trip to Dunedin, which included a visit to the Montecillo Veterans Hospital and Home and the University of Otago.

"We can all as a nation be incredibly proud of how we’ve responded, not just the Defence Force, but as a nation," he said in an interview.

Asked if Defence Force reserves could help in Otago-Southland if it became a quarantine destination, Maj-gen Boswell said he had had "no visibility"at this stage about possible managed isolation plans in the South.

If there was "something required", Defence Force support was likely to come from "a mix of regular force elements" from throughout the country and Otago-Southland Territorial reserves.

Reserve forces had played a positive role elsewhere in the country to support managed isolation and they were also well-placed to help in the South, where reservists included about 125 infantry.

About 200 Defence Force staff, including reservists, on rotation, had recently supported managed isolation at many sites, including in Auckland and Rotorua.

Defence Force personnel were trained to deal with a range of "complex disruptors", including a global pandemic. New Zealand’s strategic defence policy statement (2018) had highlighted the need to deal with such disruptors.

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