Netherlands considers military deployment against COVID-19
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence has said that the country’s armed forces will provide support to health professionals where and when necessary, to help deal with the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Defence minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said that the Netherlands has not needed to deploy military personnel yet but the ministry is considering a range of potential scenarios.
She also hinted that military medical facilities could be used for COVID-19 patients such as the military hospital in Utrecht which has quarantine capabilities and suitable ventilation.
Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) amphibious transport vessels such as HNLMS Johan de Witt, HNLMS Rotterdam and HLMS Karel Doorman(pictured) each include sickbays to host patients with infectious diseases. They also have operating theatres and 30 intensive care beds which may be required.
HLMS Karel Doorman was deployed to West Africa in 2014 to help contain the outbreak of Ebola in that region.
As of 18 March, 2,051 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the Netherlands.
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