The US Department of Defense (DoD) has ordered new travel restrictions for its staff and their families to stop all travels to countries affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus from today.
Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced the measures yesterday in a memo entitled: “Travel restriction for DoD components in response to coronavirus disease 2019.”
Esper said: “The department is committed to doing our part in the administration’s comprehensive fight against the coronavirus by enhancing the safety of our personnel, helping them stay healthy, and making sure they’re able to continue executing the mission.”
The DoD also asks that travel planning for personnel should not pass through areas affected by the virus. The countries to be avoided are Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican City.
The Esper memo also calls on its components to examine all travel and approve it only when it is considered’ mission-essential.’
Several exercises involving US forces were impacted elsewhere. Originally, Defender Europe 20 was set to see 20,000 people traveling from the US to Europe, but this is now being changed due toCovid-19 fears.
Esper said: “Our combat commanders, service secretaries and the chief management officer are authorised to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Our commanders, of course, have the authority to provide direction and guidance to the troops every step of the way.”