The rapidly spreading coronavirus continues to disrupt military exercises and daily lives — now Marines headed to an annual training rotation Down Under will follow a new Australian government policy and self-quarantine upon arrival.
Stars and Stripes reported, citing 1st Lt. Bridget Glynn, a spokeswoman for Marine Rotational Force Darwin, that the roughly 2,500 Marine rotation will spend the first 14-days in self-quarantine.
Glynn told Stripes this year’s rotation will start to head to Australia in April, with the rest of the Marines arriving in July.
She told Stripes that the rotation will be roughly the same as the 2019 rotation, but the Corps is still finalizing units and equipment slated to train in Australia in 2020.
Effective Friday, all troops, military civilian employees and family members traveling to or from locations with widespread transmission of the illness, designated “Warning Level 3” (which at the moment include Italy, South Korea and China) will “stop movement” for the next 60 days.
According to Australia’s Department of Health, there are 565 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 6:30 am Thursday — that’s an increase of 111 cases over a 24-hour period.
The BBC reported that Australia’s government announced mid-March a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone arriving in the country to stymie the spread of COVID-19.
In July 2019, the Corps hit its goal of a 2,500 Marine rotations to Australia, which was agreed to during the 2018 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations.
Rotations have included HIMARS rocket artillery and a robust Marine Corps aviation component with MV-22 Ospreys.
The Corps has slowly bumped up its six-month Australia rotation over the last several years. Australia is a key to the Corps’ plans to help redistribute forces across the Indo-Pacific region.