NATO, together with other international organisations, is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is the commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) Allied Command Operations. The current SACEUR is General Tod D. Wolters of the United States Air Force.

The statement is as follows:
“In close coordination with Allies and Partners, we’ve embraced precautionary measures to safeguard the health not only of our personnel, but also of our communities. In coordination with Allies and partners, and based on the guidance from the World Health Organization, we will modify Exercise Defender Europe 20 and we are assessing all other exercises.

The health of our forces is vitally important to maintaining readiness to deter and defend our homelands. We’ve implemented prudent measures to reduce the exposure and transmission of coronavirus to or from our forces, family members, and home stations. The modification and, in some cases, reduction of exercises is a precautionary measure, and does not affect the ability of our forces to respond to threats, now or in the future.

Because we have exercised and worked closely together in a variety of scenarios, for many years, we are prepared and resilient. We are focused on sustaining our finely honed skills. And, valuable lessons learned from the cooperation and mere planning of exercises will still be captured. This makes us a better force. We will continue to execute daily operations, with measures implemented to reduce the exposure and potential transmission of the virus.

The ability of NATO forces to quickly adapt to this situation, demonstrates strength, agility and resilience. Continuous assessments are on-going. Our nations, allies, partners, and potential adversaries should know that our forces remain ready. NATO is steadfast in its commitment to protect all Allies and our shared values.”

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Mark B

Good to have confirmation of the preparations everyone knew would be taking place.

I wonder what preparations the Russian military is taking? I wonder if we have a common enemy or if they will be looking to see if we drop our guard?


I suspect in a month or two everyone is going to be a bit to busy managing their own problems. What will be interesting to see is how this affects deployments across the globe ( can you afforded to deploy ships and units knowing that in all likelihood a percentage ( small but real) of the people on that deployment are potentially going to need hospitalisation and specialist ventilation, at a time no nations will be happy to provide that support locally (or even let you move infected individuals across their borders. The other very interesting thing will be to… Read more »


We will never get confirmation, it spreads panic you know, but the Armed Forces should have had warning orders issued to provide support to the civil authorities in the following areas: Reg Medical Regiments (not the AR because they are already NHS workers) to provide nursing cover, med evacuation, mortuary services & Field Hospitals. CBRN trained troops for COVID testing and isolation. RLC / others with trucks to provide vital Log support. RMP / RAFP / RNP to provide support to the Police (maybe infantry too). Provost Corps & Infantry to provide support to the Prison Service. RAF & RN… Read more »


Why won’t you get confirmation? The Irish Defence Forces confirmed they were moving to such levels days ago.


I can foresee the UK government calling up thousands of TA, and deploying regular servicemen and women across the country. Service personnel will be required in power stations, water facilities and gas control centres, to ensure that utilities remain working and kept safe. I fear we could be looking at six months of emergency measures and the establishment of a number of temporary buildings, to serve as hospitals under the control of the Royal Medical Core. Army bases or RAF airfields could be the location for these facilities as they have room and large hanger space.

Robert Blay

It’s not a zombie apocalypse Maurice.


Missing the point Robert, it isn’t a Zombie emergency but is is a serious national crisis and our Armed Forces are a part of the response.

Keep washing those hands…

Robert Blay

If fully aware of the situation Rob, I’m working from home, and already had holidays cancelled.


Make no mistake this is the biggest catastrophe we have faced since the Second World War. 3 months ago this virus made a jump to human beings, we are probably looking at a million people infected so far from 0 to a million in 3 months. It is a novel virus without cure or vaccine that mean 100% of the population is at risk. If you are inoculate you get it, that’s the same for everyone. It has an RO of around 2-3 ( that’s more infectious that the flu and a lot of people are immune to most types… Read more »


Jonathan, that’s the best and most accurate summary of the situation I’ve seen to date.


Scary indeed. I can’t believe there are still people who make comments on news articles along the lines of “Covid 19 has only killed x people in the U.K. – you’re more likely to die in a car crash” thus completely missing the point that car deaths aren’t infectious and that they are comparing a reasonably static number with a number that is still growing rapidly. The only thing in your assessment that I would question (not necessarily saying it’s wrong just not 100% sure) is the ventilation/ITU bit. When you say 10% need ventilation is that all types of… Read more »


Yes Julian it’s one of the big mistakes that people make, you can never compare a known stable risk with a dynamic growing risk.

Daniele Mandelli

Stunning post. One of the best I have ever seen on this site.

I have copied and pasted it to show others. It deserves it.

Thank you.

Robert Blay

On a slightly more positive note. China has had a total of 80,849 cases of COVID-19 as of today, and the number of new cases is falling off at a steady rate now, Just 25 new cases today. 80k is not even half the population of my home city of Hull. But they have taken pretty extreme measures to tackle the out break. None of us really know what will happen over the next few weeks/months, it could be really bad, or for most of us we might have nothing more to worry about then a few boring weeks and… Read more »


You’re point about the ITU beds is most important, it’s not just the Covid patients that are on them and that may die, but it’s the patients with other issues that can’t get those beds and will die as well.


Yes the whole system stress will be a major issue. We will probably never be able to calculate how many people will end up being harmed due to overwhelmed health and social care systems, not just hear but worldwide. An ED full to the rafters is going to miss it’s door to needle times ect. Elective surgery being cancelled, like hips and knees will cause people to have reduced mobility and therefore increased morbidly. The true level effects and harm will be almost impossible to really calculate.


Yep, I know here in Ireland everything including Cancer treatments are being pushed as far back as possible to free up space.

The DF have been fully mobilised and are on stand by for ATCA/ATCP, the Gardaí have emptied their training college and it like the Barracks are being made available for non-critical patients.


I think that the UK should be more self sufficient in energy, food, medicine & medical supplies (gloves, masks, etc).
I would like to hear at least one of the Labour leadership candidates talk about reshoring.
The Tories just had a giveaway budget, so why could they find no money to cut the high business rates for UK industrial sites?


Yeah, it seems a bit strange to cut rates for retail when the UK really needs to boost productivity particularly in manufacturing. If you want to save the high street create a fair playing field against online retailers or just acknowledge the high street needs to adapt.
The UK does actually create a lot of its own medical equipment including gloves and masks, but the domestic market is obviously very small as the only customer to date is the NHS.