Monday 30 March 2020
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease with a mortality rate much higher than other seasonal illnesses and there is currently no available vaccine. The COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The global strategy is to flatten the rate of infection by reducing contact among individuals in work and social environments so that medical infrastructures and staff are not overwhelmed. From today JFCBS has adopted a working structure to focus on Mission Essential Continuing Operations (MECO). MECO will allow for reduced manning in order to contain the spread of the virus through reducing the opportunity for individuals to have contact with one another.
The purpose of this adaptation is to ensure JFCBS members and families are protected whilst JFCBS HQs remains prepared to execute essential tasks, maintain/sustain current operations, set and shape future operations, and plan and prepare long term activities. This will prevent a sharp decline in operational readiness, action, and activity.
The Commanders' priorities at this time are to protect the force and families, minimize staffing levels and maximize the reserve elements in the Headquarters in order to preserve our ability to react to a crisis over the coming months.
In the new operating environment leaders must ensure we do more to improve communication and the passage of information, especially over insecure platforms. However, we must not compromise the integrity or our systems and Division Heads must police this. But we must minimize the seams and gaps in information between staff working at work, working at home or on standby in their home/alternate duty location.
Most importantly we must look after our people, know where they are and know how they are. It is only by keeping the COVID-19 Response Cell informed during the day and the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at night that we will protect the force and our families.
If you feel unwell, check the COVID-19 flow chart and take the necessary action(s) as advised. We must remain calm and professional and be kind to each other. We will get through this.
Note: In order to make important information accessible to those on alternate duty locations more easily, a new internet based collaborative portal for staff is expected to go live by midday Wednesday. We will keep you updated on that.