Defense Department issues guidance on coronavirus

Posted at 12:46 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 17:57:40-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The Department of Defense is directing service members to take precautions against the coronavirus as it continues to work with other government agencies in responding to the outbreak.

“I approved a directive apprising our forces about precautions they should take, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the virus,” Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper said.

“The Department of Defense continues to work closely with our interagency partners as we monitor the situation and protect our service members and their families, which is my highest priority,” he added.

Defense officials say the Military Health System is prepared to execute update guidance given the ‘fluidity’ of the situation.

Service members are being told to take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, including frequent handwashing, avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding contact with those who are sick.

The Pentagon has also approved a Department of Health and Human Services request to use military facilities to accommodate those who may need to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas due to the coronavirus.

The military sites selected, if needed, are at Fort Carson in Colorado, Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar both in California, as well as Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Under the request, the Defense Department will only provide housing support and defense personnel will not be in direct contact with evacuees.