Military Travel Restrictions Extended
According to media reports, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan told reporters ‘the existing military-wide travel ban has been extended to June 30, 2020, in a continued effort to help stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
This decision was announced on April 18, 2020, and was made by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley “after careful consideration and assessment,” said Donovan, who would not rule out an extension beyond that date, reported The Military Times.
The initial ban came down March 12 and was initially to last until May 12, and the Pentagon has been reviewing the environment every 15 days.
“Never say never,” he said when asked if the ban could extend beyond June 30th.
And it is possible, he said, that those who do move could be placed in 14-day quarantines.
Many decisions like that will be pushed down to installation commanders, said Donovan, because they best know the coronavirus situation in their localities.
Also, host nation restrictions will come into play as well, he said.
The move comes as upwards of 100,000 troops, along with families, are gearing up for the annual Permanent Change of Station season.
While the current travel ban has halted deployments, permanent-change-of-station moves, training and temporary duty for schooling, officials have stressed it has been necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus throughout the force and throughout the communities with which troops interact.
The Defense Department has set a goal to be analyzing 60,000 coronavirus tests a day in June, senior leaders announced this week, in an effort to get a better grip on how many troops have been infected and to make informed decisions about bringing back travel, training, and other key operations that have been throttled during the pandemic.
After weeks of sticking to testing only symptomatic service members, the DoD is working toward a more thorough, but targeted, approach, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Friday.
“From a military perspective, we have to figure out how to use testing in ways to validate the readiness of our force to deploy, the readiness of a ship to go out, and so testing is going to become a critical part of that,” he said.
As of April 17th, nearly 3,000 service members have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as about 2,000 more dependents, civilians and contractors.
And a total of 19 COVID-19 disease-related fatalities have confirmed.
Coronavirus pandemic travel news published by Vax-Before-Travel.