S. Africa mobilizes military reserves to fight COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-23 23:49:49|Editor: huaxia

CAPE TOWN, April 23 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's military reserves have been called up to join the fight against COVID-19 as the pandemic continues unabated, the army said on Thursday.

The mobilization involves reserves in the South African Army, South African Air Force, South African Navy and the South African Military Health Service, said R.C. Andersen, Chief of Defence Reserves.

These four services form an important component of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

To date, a large number of the reserves in each of the four services have been called up and deployed on borderline protection and together with the Regular Force in support of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Health to combat COVID-19, said Andersen.

In addition, certain reserve force units and selected individuals have been put on around-the-clock standby, according to Andersen.

He said the remaining members who are currently serving in the Reserve Force but who have not yet been called up have been asked to contact their units in order to confirm their availability.

Those members of the reserves who have not yet been called up and who have specialist skills are requested to contact the Defence Reserves offices in their provinces to volunteer their service, said Andersen.

Such persons include healthcare practitioners, especially nurses and doctors, and qualified chefs, mechanics, engineers, pilots and seamstresses.

"They will be called up as soon as they are required," said Andersen.

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa informed Parliament that he had authorized the deployment of an additional 73,180 members of the SANDF to assist the police in battling the spread of COVID-19, in what is believed to be one of the country's biggest deployments in history.

Ramaphosa said the extra troops would be deployed until June 26, 2020, augmenting the 2,280 troops who were already deployed.

As of Wednesday, South Africa reported 3,635 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 65 deaths. Enditem