HomeNewsArticle Display

DOD officials explain new coronavirus domestic travel restrictions

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Defense officials announced restrictions on domestic travel yesterday for service members, Defense Department employees and family members in response to the new coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Deputy Defense Secretary David L. Norquist signed a memorandum halting all domestic travel, to include permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11.

Officials speaking on background said the new memo said that service members will only be authorized local leave only.

The ban is in addition to restrictions on all DoD military and civilian personnel and their families traveling to, from, or through areas for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. That policy also stops PCS and TDY travel through May.

There are exceptions for hardship, mission essential and humanitarian travel, but those exceptions must be approved. Domestic travel for medical treatment is excluded from the ban. 

There are 10 service members who have tested positive for COVID-19. One DoD civilian and two DoD contractors have the virus, as do eight family members, officials said. There are 13 DOD laboratories that can test samples for the virus.

The officials said the new policy is aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus. Each day tens of thousands of service members and DoD civilians are traveling. This ''strategic pause'' is ''the best and safest route'' to slowing the spread of the virus, they said.

The Pentagon reservation is also taking actions and raised the health protection condition in the building and associated properties to Bravo. This means all tours of the building are cancelled. Starting March 16, offices in the building will go on minimum manning, with vast numbers of employees teleworking.

Offices in the building will have rotating staffs and ''red and blue'' teams. Those employees who require access to classified information to do their mission-essential tasks will work from the building, officials said.

The Pentagon will restrict access to employees with swipe card access, and will restrict international visitors. ''We are also restricting access of Pentagon officials who have been overseas in one of the CDC-defined Level 3 or 2 countries,'' officials said. 

As of today, the Level 3 countries are: China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.

Personnel who return from these countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before being allowed back to work, officials said.

Pentagon officials are also closing employee fitness centers and said they are looking at other measures to lessen the chances of transmission.

 

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @NORADCommand: #NORAD remains prepared to respond to security threats. We maintain ample capabilities to deter aggression and defeat att…
During the spread of #COVID19 we've modified operations to remain a #ReadyAF. https://t.co/w5PgP7YWV0
Huge thanks to all the medical Airmen and healthcare professionals who take care of us on this #WorldHealthDay. You… https://t.co/zrOdOrLAET
"Just like the American spirit, our mentality in the military is always 'can do,' never say quit, and never say you… https://t.co/vPfWUoqWFE
“Staying fit is not only crucial for Airman readiness but is also vital in reducing our risk of illness like COVID-… https://t.co/PPXyfjV4iR
Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine is training medics on the use of Transport Isolation System to move #COVID19https://t.co/xnRNB4Xbez
Dept of the Air Force guidance on use of cloth face coverings can be found at https://t.co/vIzKyRwp57 #COVID19USAF https://t.co/bPyuUUfIQv
RT @thejointstaff: #InThisTogether as a whole of America approach to #COVID19 Joint Staff Surgeon Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs shares a mess…
.@USAFReserve deploys medical personnel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to support New York City after stops at… https://t.co/uZGajRGFlE
THANK YOU to everyone on the front lines against this invisible enemy! #ReadyAF #COVID19USAF 💪 https://t.co/rGbhX7mWuC
RT @PACAF: Within 72 hours the 735th Air Mobility Squadron loaded 31,063 lbs. of cargo containing PPE & med supplies onto a C-17. The 535th…
The Air Force has released guidance on use of cloth face covers. https://t.co/xe7kyznTfv https://t.co/hJCn4MM5lY
A 3D printer creates a prototype N95 face mask at Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow… https://t.co/pKTYTmTC97
RT @cmsaf18: Let’s come together by staying apart. #SocialDistancing #COVID https://t.co/S9GACwKoq5
Join @GenDaveGoldfein and @cmsaf18 this afternoon for a virtual town hall on the Air Force Facebook page, 3:30 PM -… https://t.co/MhahC1fejt
Within 48 hours of notification, the @USAFReserve mobilized more than 40 doctors, 70 nurses and approximately 13 r… https://t.co/2RT2Or0XnR
RT @thejointstaff: We are all #InThisTogether to mitigate the spread of #COVID19. Read the latest @DeptofDefense guidance on the use of cl…
The taxiway was brought out of retirement and repurposed for this exercise as a landing zone, which is an area desi… https://t.co/rc71QlsXr4