Soldiers of Joint Task Force 629.3 are providing customised support to Queensland authorities to help deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

They are working alongside local and state government representatives at the Metro North Public Health Unit facility in a whole-of-government effort.

The task force was established as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist, the nation-wide Australian Defence Force support announced at the start of April.

The soldiers are part of the Quarantine Release Team – responsible for liaising with people nearing the end of a mandatory quarantine period to ensure they are ready for transition back into domestic life.

Senior logistics adviser Lieutenant Colonel Michael Byrne said the role involved talking to individuals to assist them through the process to ensure they were ready to end their mandatory quarantine period.

“By performing this role we are helping to relieve the pressure placed on Queensland Health representatives as they provide a vital response to the pandemic, and allowing them to focus on managing cases and close contacts along with supporting airport and seaport border controls, and quarantine and isolation accommodation venues,” Lieutenant Colonel Byrne said.

Director Public Health Unit-Metro North John Piispanen said the process of following up on the close contacts of cases was essential to allow health authorities to build a picture of the potential spread of the virus, as well as ensuring contacts with those potentially at risk minimised any further spread.

“It’s a very important role and it’s encouraging to see all levels of government working together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Piispanen said.

“The work of both the Army members and representatives from local government organisations, as well as Queensland Health and Metro North professionals, is focused on keeping the infection rate as low as possible and potentially saving lives as we do so, as well as reducing the burden on resources.”