"The health protection of our force, and that of our Allies and partners is a top concern. We take the coronavirus outbreak seriously," U.S. EUCOM said in a release. Since early February troops and equipment deployments arrived regularly in Europe. Defender-Europe 20 is scheduled until June in seven European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. All countries have reported COVID-19 cases.
Details on the scope of changes will follow. U.S. EUCOM is working through the details with its Allies and partners to agree on adjustments.
The health protection of our force, and that of our Allies and partners is a top concern.
Apart from military training objectives, the health of participating soldiers remains a priority. This measure is to at least mitigate the spread of the virus and to support local containment efforts.
NATO has taken precautionary measures based on the guidance of the World Health Organization to safeguard the health of its personnel, family members and home nations. Daily operations continue, with measures implemented to reduce the exposure and potential transmission of the virus and NATO is conducting continuous assessments as the situation is dynamic.
The modification of the exercise will not harm NATO's ability to protect all Allies and to protect our shared values. Our nations, Allies, partners, and potential adversaries should know that our forces remain ready.