The Chief of the Defence Force has thanked Defence families for their "continuous sacrifices" during Operation COVID-19 Assist.

"I am writing to you, during these extraordinary times, to assure you that I understand the concerns that many of you are coping with during the current COVID-19 pandemic," General Angus Campbell wrote in a letter to all Defence families. 

"The beginning of 2020 has certainly delivered a number of challenges. From bushfires to the current health crisis, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to be a critical component of efforts to keep Australians safe."

General Campbell said great care was being taken as a priority to support ADF personnel during training and when they were deployed.

"If anyone shows symptoms, isolation arrangements are put into place in strict accordance with public health requirements," he wrote.

"This reflects community standards and ensures the health and safety of our personnel and the broader community.

"No doubt you have been closely watching the news and social media from around the world as the health crisis unfolds.

"The situation is evolving rapidly and changing our everyday way of life."

He acknowledged the Australian Government’s current COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential travel and physical distancing requirements were difficult for everyone, particularly those who were apart, such as those families unable to reunite over Easter.

"This does not mean you have to feel alone, as families can reach out and contact the Defence Family Helpline," he said.

"This can be a particularly stressful time for those who are employed in essential services like healthcare, education, and some retail sectors like pharmacies and supermarkets; or where your employment has been affected by the closure of many businesses. I have asked my command team to support, wherever possible, our family members who are in health and support roles in protecting our community."

The Chief of the Defence Force reminded ADF personnel that the restrictions the Government had put in place were vital to help stop the spread of the virus, and the elderly and other vulnerable people in society were relying on every ADF member to do their part.

"Some families may experience an emergency or crisis and need additional support. In exceptional circumstances, Defence may be able to work with the relevant state or territory to assist you," he said.

"It is important you contact the Defence Family Helpline or your Australian Defence Force member’s chain of command for assistance."

General Campbell said the ADF's role in the whole-of-government response would continue to be critical.

"I thank every Australian Defence Force member, their parents, partners and children for the patience, resilience, understanding and support they continue to provide so that we can continue to serve," he said.

"I know much of the strength of our Australian Defence Force is due to the support families selflessly provide – thank you for the service you too give to our nation and its defence."