The 60-day “stop movement order” on March 25 affects both those slated to return home to U.S. shores, and those who would have deployed overseas.
“Currently, this order is not expected to impact the continued drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which is scheduled to be complete within 135 days following the signed agreement,” according to a Pentagon statement.
Exceptions will be made for medical treatment of troops and their families, and for troops on Navy ships which have been in transit for more than 14 days—or have effectively been in quarantine.
Other exceptions can also be made on a case-by-case basis, if a journey is mission essential, due to humanitarian needs or another extreme hardship.
Among troops, 227 have so far tested positive for the CCP virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus.
Together with civilians, dependents, and contractors, those cases make a total of 453 cases in the department of defense.
On Wednesday the Department of Defense announced the first identified CCP virus case at the Pentagon headquarters building—a Marine who had last worked in the building on March 13.
“The Marine followed U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines and DoD directives by isolating himself when an immediate family member began to show symptoms,” said the Pentagon in a statement. “Once he became ill, he contacted his assigned medical facility.”
The Department of Defense had already restricted some foreign travel and permanent change of station.
“This stop movement order will also impact exercises, deployments, redeployments and other global force management activities,” according to a statement from the Department of Defense. “Approximately 90,000 service members slated to deploy or redeploy over the next 60 days will likely be impacted by this stop movement order.”
“The purpose is to make sure that we’re not bringing the virus back home, infecting others, that we’re not spreading it around the military,” Esper said of the move, reported Reuters.
Pentagon modeling of the spread of the virus is not yet robust enough to determine where the next outbreak of the virus will occur, according to senior officials.
“Right now, the modeling that we’re able to do is for planning, but it has not yet sufficiently firm to say that it’s predictive in nature,” Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs told reporters. “We’ve not tried to predict that we’re going to see a hotspot here, or we’re going to see X number there. We used it for broad planning. Like in the community, if the outbreak occurs and X percent of people are infected over time, what does that mean as far as health care requirements?”
Predictive models may soon be possible thanks to data sharing from countries already afflicted by the virus, he said.
“The good news is our allies in Korea and in Italy and in Europe are sharing data very transparently with us, and we’re building a much more robust database,” he said. “I think in another few weeks we’ll have better fidelity on that data.”
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.