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Periodista del EMAD

The Spanish Armed Forces have been fighting COVID-19 for two months

May 15, 2020

● During these two months more than 166,000 troops were involved in operation 'Balmis'

The Spanish Armed Forces completed two months dealing with COVID-19 within operation 'Balmis' and continue working in support of Spanish society to get out of this pandemic.

More than 166,000 troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Military Emergency Unit (UME, in Spanish) and the Royal Guard, in addition to personnel from the General Health Inspectorate (IGESAN, in Spanish), carried out  more than 19,100 interventions in  2,253 locations throughout Spain.

The disinfection of critical infrastructure and essential services is one of the main tasks of operation 'Balmis'. Thus, the military personnel carried out the disinfection of 10,817 facilities, including 5,182 nursing homes, as well as hospitals, health centres, train and bus stations, airports and ports.

The Chief of Defense (JEMAD, in Spanish), Air General Miguel Villarroya, is leading the operation, which began on 15 March. Operation 'Balmis' is conducted by the commander of the Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Fernando López del Pozo .


Operation 'Balmis' means the integration of the operational, health, logistic, military police and infrastructure capabilities belonging to the UME, the IGESAN and the Army, Navy and Air Force. All these capabilities are available to the competent authorities. The operation is ongoing since the declaration of the state of alarm, decreed by the Government on 14 March.

The operation has been named ‘Balmis' as a tribute to the humanitarian expedition led by Francisco Javier Balmis, between 1803 and 1806. He was a military doctor who brought the smallpox vaccine to the overseas territories of the Spanish Empire in America and the Philippines.

Since their departure from the port of La Coruña, the doctor from the Spanish province of Alicante, besides the military José Salvany, immunized the populations of the Canary Islands, America and the Philippines, Macao, Canton and the island of Santa Elena.