Some Canadian troops serving in Latvia test positive for coronavirus

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An unspecified number of Canadian soldiers serving in Latvia as part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence have tested positive for the coronavirus, Canadian public media outlet CBC reported January 5.

"A number of Canadian military members deployed in Latvia have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the Department of National Defence has said. Military officials say they will not release specific numbers, citing operational security," CBC reported, but added: "Defence sources say they believe only a handful Canadians attached to the mission have been infected. An unknown number of soldiers from other nations taking part in the Canadian-led battle group, however, have contracted COVID-19 at Camp Adazi outside of the capital Rīga."

The Latvian embassy in Canada shared the story and commented that the operational readiness of the military had not been affected as a result of the outbreak.

The multinational battlegroup in Latvia is led by Canada and consists of more than 1,500 soldiers from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, who serve on a rotating basis in Latvia, participating in exercises with the National Armed Forces.

The purpose of establishing and deploying NATO's enhanced presence battlegroups is to enhance NATO's deterrence and strengthen the Alliance's defense by demonstrating solidarity against all forms of aggression. The welcoming ceremony of the battlegroup for NATO's expanded presence in Latvia took place on 19 June 2017 at Ādaži base.

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