The U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) has cancelled Exercise Phoenix Express 2020 (OE20) due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“After careful consideration with exercise participants and the host nation, Exercise Phoenix Express 2020 (OE20) has been cancelled for force protection considerations”, said an AFRICOM statement.
“The decision not to proceed with the exercise comes in response to the global effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while minimizing exposure of U.S. and partner nation service members to this virus”, the statement added.
The Command said that it will continue to evaluate and adjust the scope of its activities as necessary to ensure force health protection and prevent the spread of the virus.
The U.S. routinely exercises with partners in Africa to build enduring relationships and combined capacity to ensure the safety and security of the regional maritime environment.
Phoenix Express is an exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
The Exercise Phoenix Express 2020, originally scheduled April 5-18 in the Mediterranean Sea, is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations.
Planning continues for the exercise in 2021.