At least two U.S. service members have contracted the Coronavirus, according to the Department of Defense (DoD).
The first is a U.S. Navy sailor stationed in Italy. The southern European country, where significant U.S. forces are stationed, has been hit particularly hard by the virus. In the last week alone, Coronavirus cases nearly tripled from around 2500 to over 7300; over 360 people have died as the Italian government has ordered a lockdown of the northern part of the country, something that will affect over 15 million people.
The second case concerns a Marine stationed in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His condition remains stable as he is being treated in the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
Meanwhile, the American passengers of the cruise ship The Grand Princess will be quarantined in military bases across the U.S. The luxury ship was sailing with over 3500 passengers, at 21 of who have been tested positive for the Coronavirus. It will dock in California, and its passengers transported to secure facilities in California, Texas, and Georgia.
Pararescuemen from the 129th Rescue Squadron (129th RSQ) are assisting in the operation to quarantine and monitor the passengers.
The U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) issued the following statement:
“The Department of Defense is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support passengers returning to the United States on the Grand Princess cruise ship. Upon docking, passengers will be medically screened by HHS/CDC at the port and then asymptomatic only passengers will be transferred to federal military installations for COVID-19 testing, and a 14-day quarantine.
HHS informs us that nearly 1,000 passengers who are California residents will likely complete the mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and residents of other states will likely complete their mandatory quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia.
The final list of DoD locations and the numbers of passengers at each base are still being worked, and we will update this information as soon as the details are finalized. For additional information on quarantine operations, please contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
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