US Marine stationed at Pentagon tests positive for coronavirus

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper center walks Gen. Scott Miller right chief of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan at the U.S. military headquarters in Kabul Afghanistan Sunday Oct. 20 2019. Esper arrived Sunday in Afghanistan where stalled

The U.S. military said earlier on Wednesday it was also elevating its health protection condition, or HPCON, at bases around the world to Charlie, its second highest level, which suggests sustained community transmission. That decision places restrictions on large gatherings, adds temperature checks for personnel at building access points, and largely limits base access to mission-essential individuals.

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Military labs have still not conducted a single coronavirus test on a civilian more than a week after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper offered to help test civilians for the coronavirus, despite widespread complaints about a lack of adequate testing across the US.

It is the first reported death from the virus within the DOD.

It is also understood that two other defense employees who visited the service's headquarters in Arlington have also tested positive for the virus.

It said that around 90,000 service members will be affected although there are some exemptions such as for those providing medical treatment to personnel and those who are already en route to their deployment.

The Roosevelt is now in a port in Guam, the official said. "Such exceptions may be approved by Combatant Commanders, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or Secretaries of Military Departments", the memo said.

The statement says the order is not expected to impact the drawdown of USA forces from Afghanistan, which is proceeding based on a peace deal with the Taliban.

Meanwhile, troops will continue to be pulled out of Afghanistan.

One of those missions, increasingly, is assisting the USA government's domestic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This means there will be no deployments, while troops scheduled to return home will have to stay where they are.

"The objective 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. "Because if we stop doing the right thing today because we think something's going to happen in four weeks, we will make this worse". "It's going to take intensive measures, as we are implementing, to mitigate it".



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