Cheryl Pearce - COVID implications

Running time
1 min 45 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


COVID was very different. When COVID hit, we had a lot of lockdown. There wasn't any diplomatic activity for the year. We were trying to do that remotely. Really difficult to work with the troops, the North. It was an external disruptor. It could have been a really good way to bring the North and the South together, but it wasn't. They shut all the crossing points. It became very tense, very difficult. I lost control of my forces in the North. I had three camps in the North. We couldn't move freely to get to them.

They couldn't come south. So that was a really difficult period of negotiation. Trying to keep COVID out of the camps and allow us to conduct our operations was quite a lot of work with my commanders on how to build teams within teams, and a business continuity plan to work that forward. I was well served. I had a small Australian personal staff, and they were essential for my sanity, and for also the operational plan as we went through, because it was really difficult to operate in those conditions. So it was quite stark of the both years.

We couldn't travel, couldn't move, do anything in 2020, yeah, which was really exhausting for me because you're just never off. It was constant. There wasn't a downtime through that period. And so I reflect back on that, and when I think about the countries that were serving there, and they were so far away from their homes and their families and their safety, it was a difficult period.

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