The military calls for retired troops who served as health care specialists to help combat the coronavirus outbreak
The US military has decided that it will stop providing some of the more detailed data on coronavirus infections within its ranks, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper revealed
The United States Department of Defense has suspended the deployment of troops for 60 days to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as cases increase by 30 percent on Wednesday
American sailors man the bridge of the USS Boxer, just one of the American warships affected by the corona virus
The United States military has decided to stop providing some of the more detailed information about coronavirus infections within its ranks, concerned that the information may be used by opponents as the virus spreads.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper outlined the plan in an interview with Reuters, saying he wanted the military to continue to provide broader data on infections in the armed forces, which has more than a million active duty members.
He also banned all troop movements abroad for 60 days to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as the number of cases among U.S. service workers rose 30 percent to 280 cases on Thursday, a jump from 53.
Another 81 civilian staff, 67 dependents and 40 contractors tested positive.
The freezing will affect 90,000 service members, including those who would leave Afghanistan as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban.
The largest increase in military cases has been observed in the United States, but there are thousands more U.S. military personnel in quarantine or self-isolation in Europe and the Middle East due to exposure to a person with the coronavirus or a recent trip to a high-risk area .
Esper, a former secretary of the military, said he wanted some of the more mission-specific information to be withheld in order not to compromise operational security.
“What we want to do is give you aggregated figures. But we’re not going to break the numbers down because it could reveal information about where we might be affected faster than maybe in other places, ”Esper said, without revealing exactly what information would be withheld or when the plan would be implemented.
The military has compared a small number of infections to its more than a million troops, but the locations of individual cases have been revealed so far, including the first case involving an American soldier in South Korea in February.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ernesto Santa Ana, right, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Maria F. Potts-Szoke, work in the Naval Medical Research Center mobile laboratory aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, where 23 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday
“I’m not going to get into a habit of starting to provide numbers on all assignments, and we’re coming six, seven weeks from now, where we’re worried in some locations and revealing information that could put people at risk,” Esper said.
“The rate of contamination and its impact is not hitting us at the level that we are concerned about now,” he added, but noted that the release of information on overseas troops was dangerous to the security of those fighting all -Shabaab in East Africa and Islamic State militants in Syria or Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, the Navy revealed that they had changed their policy to no longer provide information on which ship positive sailors serve after more than a dozen cases were discovered on various warships in San Diego.
The policy said it would now “release only the number of positive cases and the geographical location of those sailors.”
The greatest increase in troops has been observed in the United States, with 85 percent of home air force cases.
Ninety percent of the 104 cases in the Navy that are now at home, while the military declined to release their figures, it said Yahoo! News.
Esper did not confirm that the coronavirus threat was greater for domestic troops than abroad, but noted that it is easier to control the actions of troops and their families stationed outside America.
“You have much, much, much more control over your service members when deployed abroad, even if you are stationed abroad, than in the United States,” he said.
The number of people in quarantine and self-isolation has also not been revealed amid claims that it is not something the military wants to ‘advertise’.
“If advertised, numbers can be used to their advantage by opponents,” said Air Force Colonel Christopher Karns, a spokesman for the United States Africa Command.
On Wednesday, Esper also suspended all troop movements abroad for 60 days in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the military.
The warrant applies to all U.S. military forces, civilian personnel, and families, including those returning to the states and those deployed.
“This measure was taken to prevent the spread of [COVID-19], to protect US personnel and maintain the operational readiness of our global forces, “said the DOD statement.
The order will be felt hardest in Afghanistan, where US troops would leave in accordance with a Taliban peace deal, but a total of 90,000 military personnel will be affected.
The U.S. headquarters overseeing operations in Afghanistan reported on Tuesday that four service workers who recently arrived in the country had tested positive for the virus and had been quarantined separately.
Sailors prepare surgical equipment to be sterilized aboard the USNS Mercy, the military sealift command hospital ship en route to Los Angeles to assist with the corona virus
Exceptions will be granted to those who need medical treatment and deployment of naval ships if they are on the road for 14 days.
“The goal is to make sure we don’t bring the virus back home, infect others, that we don’t spread it across the military,” Esper told Reuters.
Until May 11 earlier this month, the Pentagon frozen the domestic journey for service workers, civilian personnel and their family members.
The news is also because a total of 23 cases were confirmed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, currently underway in the Pacific, after three people flew over from the ship on Tuesday.
In total, four patients have now been transported by air to a medical facility in Guam, as the number of cases on the ship increased by twenty a day.