‘Operation Resilience’: French military to join fight against coronavirus

'Operation Resilience': French military to join fight against coronavirus
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) wears a face mask during the visit of the military field hospital outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, on March 25, 2020. AFP
The French military will support public services strained by the coronavirus epidemic, President Emmanuel Macron has said, as the country's death toll topped 1,300.

France like other nations has already imposed a nationwide ban on non-essential movement and closed schools and restaurants in a bid to stop the spread of the pandemic.

The military operation, named “Resilience”, will focus on “aiding and supporting the population, as well as helping public services face the epidemic in mainland France and overseas”, Macron said on Wednesday.

“Unity and courage will allow us to overcome this, we are only at the beginning, but we will hold out,” Macron added, declaring that France was “at war”.

The comments came after the president visited a military field hospital set up by the army in the eastern Mulhouse region which has been badly hit by the coronavirus.

“The whole nation has been mobilised” in the fight against the disease, said a masked Macron, who also promised more investment for hospitals.

READ ALSO: In Pictures – France builds military field hospital for most serious coronavirus patients

France also announced it will withdraw its contingent of troops from Iraq, mostly trainers to local armed forces, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of staff said on Wednesday.

France has around 200 military personnel working in Iraq either as trainers or in the headquarters of coalition forces in Baghdad.

“In coordination with the Iraqi government, the coalition has decided to adjust its deployments in Iraq and provisionally suspend training activities,” it said in a statement.

The UK defence ministry had already announced some of its troops would come home, citing a “reduced requirement for training” Iraqi security forces.

Iraq's military had halted all training in early March to minimise the risk of the illness spreading among its forces, including from the US-led coalition helping fight remnants of the Islamic State group.


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