NATO has adjusted its entire military exercise program in response to the Coronavirus epidemic. On Thursday, March 19, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg told journalists about this when presenting the annual report on the state of NATO for 2019.
“We have cancelled a number of exercises, postponed or changed the format of others,” Stoltenberg said.
At the same time, he noted that NATO member states should not review defense spending because of the coronavirus.
“Obviously, there will be significant economic consequences. In the short term, there will be severe consequences, which will affect the budgets of countries. But let’s not forget that when NATO members decided to increase defense spending, it was done because we live in an unpredictable world,” the secretary general said.
March 16, the United States reduced the Defender Europe 2020 military exercise because of the coronavirus. In particular, the transfer of equipment and troops to Europe from the U.S. has stopped.
On March 11, NATO exercises were stopped in Norway because of coronavirus. Exercise leader Rune Jacobsen said that the alliance wants to maintain its defense capabilities in order to “support society in this unpredictable period”.
An outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in Chinese Wuhan in late December 2019. According to Worldometer as of March 19, 219,240 people worldwide were ill, 85,745 patients were cured and 8,967 died. Cases of acute respiratory infection were recorded in more than 130 countries.