As the coronavirus continues its deadly expansion around the globe, the military is taking action to take care of the people returning to the United States. The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it is preparing military installations to — if necessary — quarantine up to 1,000 people returning to the U.S. from overseas in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
The Pentagon said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for everything but housing, including all transportation, care, and security of the evacuees. Additionally, it is essential to note that DoD personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees. Moreover, evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned housing.
On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper approved a request for assistance from the HHS to house those 1,000 people who need to be quarantined once arriving from overseas travel. Where these locations will exactly have yet to be released.
A country that has an excellent protocol in place to handle just such a spread, and is doing well at it thus far, is Japan. They employ travel bans, quarantine, and monitoring of suspected persons. One SOF soldier on the island stated, “business as usual.” However, military leaders are closely monitoring the situation. Leaders, not just in the military, stress the need for people across the country to have access to necessary medical examinations. This includes supplies, including masks, as infections have been confirmed in various parts of the country.
Other countries are also reacting decisively in an effort to stem the spread of the virus: Germany has begun evacuating its citizens from China. A German military plane left China on Saturday with 120 people. Two of the German evacuees were infected with the coronavirus. Currently, they are being treated at University Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. The two infections were determined during tests in German military barracks, where all of the evacuees were brought. These two new cases bring the German total to at least 10.
The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering has created a near-real life map depicting the spread of the virus around the world. This picture was taken on the early morning hours of Monday, 2/3.
The Philippines, on the other hand, have responded by banning travel from the island to China. Foreign nationals coming from China will also be barred from entering the country. This move followed a similar ban by the U.S., Australia, and several other countries.
Chinese authorities have reported that the number of confirmed cases in the country has grown to 17,276 and 362 people have died from the disease. Nearly 137,600 people are under medical observation. The Chinese media reported that hundreds of doctors and medical personnel have been drafted in from China’s military to treat the infected patients.