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Covid-19 live timeline

Hospital ship USNS Mercy begins treatment of first patients in LA

Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) has started treating the first patients in Los Angeles in support of the US response efforts to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

While in LA, the USNS ship will continue to serve as a referral hospital for non-Covid-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals.

The vessel will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

Read the full story here.

10:02 am

Why wasn’t the UK ready for Covid-19?

In the UK, a lethal pandemic was considered by the government a “level 5” threat – the most serious security risk. The only other level 5 threat has been large-scale biological or nuclear attack.

The coronavirus closely resembles the threat anticipated in government planning documents, and yet the government appears to have been unprepared. The UK lacks ventilators, personal protective equipment and testing kits, while emergency procedures for manufacturers and hospitals are being improvised on the fly.

In the New Statesman, Harry Lambert suggests that Britain may in fact have been prepared, just for the wrong outcome.

Read the full article.

9:10 am

USNS Comfort docks in New York

The USNS Comfort, one of two hospital ships mobilised to support the response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, has docked in New York City.

The ship will be used to treat patients who are not infected with Covid-19 to free up space in civilian hospitals to treat patients afflicted by the virus.

Arriving in New York USNS Comfort commanding officer Captain Patrick Amersbach said: “The USNS Comfort arrives in New York City this morning with more than 1,100 medical personnel who are ready to provide safe, high-quality health care to non-COVID patients.

“We are ready and grateful to serve the needs of our nation.”

USNS Comfort’s sister ship the USNS Mercy has been deployed to Los Angeles, California, to support civilian hospitals there and has already admitted its first patient.

3:03 pm

NATO airlifts medical supplies to Slovakia

NATO has carried out a strategic airlift to deliver critical medical supplies to Slovakia.

The airlift carried facemasks, surgical gloves, protective suits and other supplies to the country. The supplies were transported in Antonov AN-124 on a non-stop flight from Germany to China where it collected cargo and then onto Bratislava for delivery.

The aircraft was chartered under NATO’s Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) which allows nine participating countries to access five AN-124  aircraft.


12:18 pm

Eurosatory called off due to Covid-19

The defence event, hosted by French Land and Airland Defence and Security Association (GICAT) and defence exhibition organiser COGES, was due to take place from 8 to 12 June in Paris. Its cancellation follows the calling off of the Farnborough International Airshow and Royal International Air Tattoo, also due to take place this year.

In a statement, the organisers said that the health situation in France was ‘deteriorating’ day by day and that the global spread meant that the safety of visitors could not be assured.

Eurosatory’s statement read: “The sanitary situation due to Covid-19 is deteriorating daily in France and has spread throughout the world.

“The conditions for preparing and running the exhibition, which would protect the health and safety of the 100,000 expected participants, visitors, exhibitors and organisers, cannot be met.”

The event was due to welcome visitors and exhibitors from 63 countries and around 100,000 visitors from across the world.

The statement added: “Many international and French exhibitors registered for the Eurosatory trade fair scheduled from 8 to 12 June 2020 are no longer able to prepare their participation and configure or transport the necessary equipment. It also appears that the very large number of foreign visitors expected to participate in the fair can no longer plan their trip to France.”

Eurosatory said that it had considered postponing the event, however, it said that the conditions to do so could not be met. The show will next return in June 2022.

3:10 pm

UK politicians concerned foreign powers could exploit Covid-19

UK politicians have expressed concern to Naval Technology that foreign powers could seek to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic after ‘unusually high’ Russian activity off UK waters lead the Royal Navy and NATO to shadow seven Russian vessels.

MP and Chair of the Defence Committee Tobias Ellwood said: “These unusually high levels of activity in the English Channel and the North Sea demonstrate exactly why the UK must not neglect the real danger of foreign powers exploiting the coronavirus crisis for their own ends. The government must remain vigilant to all threats to our security, not just the imminent danger that this outbreak poses.

Taking our eye off the ball can have dire consequences. The Ministry of Defence must continue to horizon-scan and keep the nation safe so that we are not blindsided by future threats. Preparedness and expecting the unexpected are more important than ever.”

This concern was echoed by committee member MP Martin Docherty-Hughes who said that the uptick in activity showed that Russia could be looking to take advantage of the pandemic.

Docherty-Hughes said: “This is yet another reminder that there is no such thing as a bad crisis for the Putin regime which will seek any sort of leverage, whether it be maritime operations in the North Sea or influence operations in Northern Italy, to seek to undermine liberal democracies and distract from the increasing crisis his own country’s underfunded healthcare system is under because of the virus.

“At a time when states and peoples in Europe should be coming together, my thoughts go out to ordinary Russian people whose government deems this sort of activity to be worthy of wasting time and resources on — though I am glad that the Royal Navy has been able to respond to these provocations.”

Read the full story here.

1:38 pm

French Armed Force launch Operation Resilience

French President Emmanuel Macron launched has launched Operation Resilience support the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Speaking in Mulhouse Macron said: “We are at war and faced with what is looming, this peak of the epidemic which is before us, I decided, on a proposal from the Minister of the Armies and the Chief of the Defense Staff, to launch the Operation Resilience.

“This operation is distinct from the Operation Sentinel which continues to focus on the fight against terrorism meanwhile, this Operation Resilience will be entirely devoted to aid and support to populations as well as support to public services to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic in mainland France and overseas, in particular in the health, logistics and protection fields.”

The move will see the French Army provide more logistics and medical support to civilian authorities, and the deployment of helicopter carriers to help overseas territories transport patients and supplies.

French Armed Forces have already set up field hospitals in France and have been completing medical evacuations to transport patients around the country.

12:37 pm

Final AEHF satellite set for launch despite Covid-19 pandemic

The first national security space mission for the US Space Force is set to lift off from Florida despite the threat of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) protected communications satellite has been built by Lockheed Martin.

The launch is on track from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Complex 41 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket with boosters attached.

Read the full story here.

11:39 am

IT²EC pushed back to September

The International Training Technology Exhibition & Conference (IT²EC), originally scheduled to take place 28-30 April at London’s ExCel centre has been postponed. The event will now take place later this year from 1-3 September.

In an email, the organisers said: “This decision has been made following consultation with the venue and key stakeholders, including the NTSA who concur and support the decision. All parties are in agreement that a new dateline would provide participants with better opportunities to undertake business.”

Visitors have been informed that their registrations will remain valid and that they will be contacted closer to the date ‘re-confirm’ attendance.

9:28 am

UK’s DASA seeks rapid sanitising technology for ambulances

The UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has released a call for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances in-between carrying patients.

Currently, it takes up to 45 minutes to sanitise an ambulance that has carried a Covid-19 patient.

DASA says the ideal solution could be used outside of just ambulances and would also be able to sanitise ‘buses, trains, and other blue light services or even in hospital wards/rooms.’

More details on DASA’s request can be found here.

11:12 am

UK military planners work on 4,000 bed ExCel Centre Hospital

Military planners from the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) are assisting the NHS in the construction of a temporary hospital in London’s ExCel centre that could be used to house 4,000 patients.

The exhibition centre was scouted by military planners and will open for its patients early next week. Initially, the emergency hospital called NHS Nightingale will provide care for around 500 patients and expand from there.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our military planners and engineers are working hand-in-hand with the NHS to support their development of the NHS Nightingale Hospital. The Armed Forces have already been distributing personal protective equipment to meet the increased demand and we stand ready to assist further in any capacity needed.

“The NHS and our Armed Forces are both world leaders in their fields, and this ambitious project is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation.”

1:11 pm

USNS Mercy departs from San Diego to support Covid-19 response

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) hospital ship has departed from a naval base in San Diego to Los Angeles to support to the US’s response efforts to contain Covid-19.

USNS Mercy departed from its base carrying over 800 navy medical personnel and support staff, a medical treatment facility (MTF), and over 70 civil service mariners.

Acting as a referral hospital for non-Covid-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, the vessel will provide general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

Read the full story here. 

11:52 am

Singapore and Australia sign military training treaty amid Covid-19

Singapore and Australia have signed a treaty on military training and training area development in view of the global Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The treaty was signed by Singapore’s Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds in Australia.

Signed during the 5th Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, the treaty is an upgrade of the bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2016 on military training and training area development in Australia.

The MoU was signed under the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). It marks a significant milestone in defence relations between both countries.

Under the latest agreement, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will get improved military training access in Australia.

The treaty also facilitates the joint development of military training areas and facilities in an expanded Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) and a new Greenvale Training Area (GVTA) in Queensland.

Furthermore, within the expanded SWBTA and the new GVTA, advanced training facilities such as the Combined Arms Air-Land Ranges and Urban Operations Live-Firing Facilities will be built by 2024 and 2028 respectively.

Once completed, the SAF will be able to conduct integrated training across all three services for up to 18 weeks. This will involve up to 14,000 personnel a year, for 25 years in training areas.

The advanced training facilities, which will deepen defence cooperation, will also benefit the armed forces.

Previously, the SAF and the Australian Defence Force carried out extensive interactions including bilateral and multilateral exercises, professional exchanges, cross attendance of courses, and joint operational deployment.

9:59 am

British Army delivers PPE to UK hospital

The British Army yesterday delivered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to St. Thomas’ Hospital in Central London.

Currently, 50 personnel are working to help maintain the supply of PPE equipment, however, this is likely to expand to 250 as the programme continues.

9:41 am

UK Government announces closure of non-essential businesses

Last night, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced more stringent, semi-lockdown measures for the UK to encourage social distancing.

These included only allowing people out of their homes to shop for basic necessities, exercise once a day, any medical appointments and to go to work if absolutely necessary.

To the end of discouraging people from leaving their houses for any other reasons, the UK Government closed all non-essential shops, including clothing and electronics retail stores, hair and beauty salons, and markets, except those selling food.

The police and other relevant authorities will be given powers to enforce these social distancing rules, including issuing out fines.

10:19 pm

Global GDP may drop by 1% in 2020, says Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs expects global real gross domestic product to contract by about 1 per cent in 2020, a sharper economic decline than in the year following the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The coronacrisis or more precisely, the response to that crisis — represents a physical (as opposed to financial) constraint on economic activity that is unprecedented in postwar history,” the investment bank said in a note to its clients published late on Sunday according to India Today.

2:36 pm

UK MOD assesing how ExCel centre can be used in Covid-19 response

A spokesperson for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) told Army Technology that military planners are assessing how London’s ExCel centre could be used to relieve pressure on the NHS caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The spokesperson said: “To assist NHS England to prepare for a number of scenarios as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, a team of military planners visited the ExCeL Centre in London to determine how the centre might benefit the NHS response to the outbreak.”

The ExCel Centre is known for hosting DSEI and other events on the annual defence calendar.

Army Technology understands that one option could be to use the venue as a temporary hospital to expand the capacity of the NHS in London.

11:32 am

Covid-19 concerns cancel RIAT and Farnborough Air Show

Farnborough International Air Show (FIA2020) and the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT2020) have been called off due to concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus Pandemic.

The events, due to take place in July in the UK, add to a slew of other defence and aerospace events being postponed or cancelled on coronavirus health and safety grounds across the world.

Read the full story here.

11:14 am

BAE Systems keeping procedures under ‘constant review’

BAE Systems has said it is constantly reviewing the situation to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic on its business and staff.

A BAE Systems spokesperson told Army Technology: “We continue to update our guidance to employees to reflect the latest public health advice and ensure we’re taking appropriate precautions to protect our people.

“We have robust business continuity plans in place which are under constant review as the situation evolves and we continue to work closely with employees, customers and suppliers to minimise any impact to our operations.”

In a further statement issued on 22 March, BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn said the company was looking to expand remote working where possible.

Woodburn added: “A number of our sites around the world need to continue operating to deliver critical capabilities to help governments and members of the armed forces and security services to protect national security at this challenging time. We are taking actions at these sites to protect our people and minimise disruption.

“Our travel policies are under constant review to align with guidance in the markets in which we operate. Like other organisations, we are minimising travel whilst focussing on meeting our customers’ needs.  Our suppliers include many small and medium-sized companies, who play an important role in supporting our customers. We are exploring how we can further support our supply chain partners during this challenging time.”


7:36 pm

OECD expects economic fallout to be felt ‘for a long time to come’

Speaking to CNBC, the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurria, stated: “What you have is an economic effect now that, very clearly, is going to be prolonged beyond the period of the pandemic.”

“We’ll hopefully get rid of the pandemic in the next two or three months and then the question is how many unemployed (will there be), how many small and medium-sized enterprises will be in a very, very severe situation if not disappeared by that time.”

“Life, and economic activity, is not going to be normalized any time soon,” he said. “We’re going to have the impact of this crisis for a long time to come.”

4:27 pm

Covid-19: UK to draw down Iraq personnel as training mission paused

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Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

UK is set to draw down some of its service personnel from Iraq following a 60-day pause in the coalition training mission due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The US-led training mission has been supported by the UK along with global coalition partners since 2014.

Following this announcement, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will redeploy some of its personnel back to the UK and prepare them for other potential deployments around the world.

Meanwhile, key military personnel will be retained throughout Iraq to support the Iraqi Government, Global Coalition and UK national interests.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In recent months the tempo of training has significantly declined, which means that I am in a position to bring back the current training unit to the UK.

“There remains a significant footprint of UK Armed Forces within the coalition and elsewhere.”

Wallace added: “We are committed to building Iraq’s security capacity through our membership of the Global Coalition that has proved so effective and will continue to support the Iraqi Government in achieving stability.”

Meanwhile, Iran-backed Shia militia group (SMG) is continuing launching rockets against coalition forces in Iraq.

The recent attacks against Camp Taji in Iraq killed two US service members and one UK soldier.

Although the US conducted retaliatory strikes in response to the attack, three more US service members were injured on 13 March in a Katuyusha rocket attack on US, coalition and Iraqi forces at Camp Taji.

Camp Taji is the main training base for Iraqi security forces.

1:23 pm

Covid-19 will cause ‘severe consequences’ for members: NATO

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Covid-19 will cause ‘severe consequences’ for member states economies and defence budgets.

Speaking during the release of NATO’s Annual Report, Stoltenberg said: “It is clear that there will be severe economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. And at least in the short term, there will also be severe consequences, not only for the total economy, but also for government budgets.

“When we speak about the long-term consequences, that is too early to say anything with certainty about what the long-term consequences will be.”

Despite this, Stoltenberg said that in the face of an uncertain world, he expected member states would continue to invest more in defence and security spending, adding that he expected countries to ‘stay committed’ to their current defence spending targets.

Stoltenberg explained: “We have to remember that when NATO Allies decided to invest more in defence, they did so because we live in a more uncertain, more unpredictable world, and therefore we need to invest more in defence. This has not changed. So, I expect Allies to stay committed to investing more in our security.”

Stoltenberg added that investments in security often paid off in crisis situations citing how Armed Forces provide ‘surge capacity for all our societies’ when it comes to responding to natural disasters and other crisis.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread a number of NATO member countries have called upon their armed forces to support civilian authorities, provide medical assistance and logistics capabilities.

Yesterday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence announced that it was readying an additional 10,000 personnel for its ‘COVID support force’ and will begin training 100 personnel to drive oxygen tankers to support the NHS next week.

In his speech, unveiling the report, Stoltenberg said that the Covid-19 pandemic faced NATO with ‘an unprecedented crisis’ but that NATO had ‘overcome crises before’. Stoltenberg’s conference on the report was held online for the first time due to social distancing measures, NATO this week also suspended media access to its HQ in Brussels.

In response to the Pandemic, NATO has also looked to modify a number of exercises, but Stoltenberg said this did not affect the organisation’s ability to act if needed.

The US has already made modifications to exercise Defender Europe that would have seen 20,000 troops deployed to Europe.

2:56 pm

UK readies 10,000 extra personnel for Covid-19 support force

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Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced it has readied an extra 10,000 military personnel to bolster its Covid-19 support force.

The move brings the total number of personnel on high readiness to help the UK respond to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to 20,000. Personnel are being retrained to drive oxygen tankers for the NHS, and scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are being drafted in to support Public Health England (PHE).

So far British personnel have helped arrange repatriation flights, but in an emergency situation, they could be used to support the police and NHS.

One hundred and fifty personnel will be trained to drive oxygen tankers from next Monday to maintain NHS supplies, and the MOD is taking measures to draw reservists with key skills back into service.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The men and women of our Armed Forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including Covid-19. The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.

“From me downwards the entirety of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces are dedicated to getting the nation through this global pandemic.”

The MOD said that ‘well-rehearsed’ mechanisms were in place for the Armed Forces to support civil authorities where necessary.

The Covid support force will be organised by the standing joint force command and will manage the MOD’s contribution to the government’s response.

Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff Operations and Commitments Major General Charlie Stickland said: “Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance.

“The Covid Support Force, potentially drawing upon our highly-skilled scientists at Dstl or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole-force effort to support the country during its time of need. Our servicemen and women are committed to maintaining our operational output and delivering any support the government requires.”

Commenting on Dstl’s involvement a MOD spokesperson told Army Technology: “Dstl is providing hazard assessment, microbiological testing and operational analysis support to Government.”,

Dstl previously assisted in the recovery and response to the Novichok incident.

Today defence ministers will lay a Written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons, allowing for reservists to be called up to assist in the response.

The MOD has already dispatched crisis planners to assist regional authorities in planning for the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 The British Army today also announced that it was suspending face-to-face recruiting and basic training operations for the foreseeable future in response to the pandemic. It said that recruitment would continue ‘virtually’ and that it was looking into ways to maintain assessments without bringing large groups of people together.

12:20 pm

Triumph Group announces cost reduction initiatives amid Covid-19

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Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

Triumph Group has announced cost reduction initiatives that will help the company maintain its position amid the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

The move will directly affect the company’s overhead, indirect staff and temporary workers.

Triumph has not provided details about the number of possible job cuts and noted that furloughs will be done ‘selectively’.

Additionally, the company has said that the cost reduction action will help it balance the production capacity and expected demand in the market while maintaining long-term competitiveness.

The company has not experienced any material impact on its backlog or revenue due to the virus. Furthermore, it expects no impact in this fiscal year ending on 31 March 2020.

According to the company, the impact of the pandemic on its work is low as Triumph’s products and services are spread across various sectors such as defence, commercial, and international markets.

Triumph’s factories and main suppliers will remain operational, and no positive Covid-19 cases have been detected among any of its employees so far.

With reductions in travel, corporate events and other expenses, annual savings of $75m are expected from fiscal 2021.

Precautionary measures and safe work practices are exercised within the factory units.

The company has implemented work from home policies as per the guidelines of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to minimise exposure to the virus.

Until further development, business operations will continue in all company, said Triumph.

8:11 am

COVID-19: India confirms first positive coronavirus case in armed forces

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The first positive COVID-19 case in the Armed Forces of India has been confirmed as the world’s second-most populous country works to avoid a coronavirus crisis.

The member has been identified as a 34-year old soldier from Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army known as the ‘Snow Warriors’.

The soldier is a resident of Chuchot village in the Leh district of Ladakh, India, according to media sources.

He re-joined the service earlier this month after a casual leave from 25 February to 1 March.

He contracted the infection from his father, who had returned from Iran on 27 February and has also been tested positive with the virus.

His father was quarantined from 29 February and reported positive on 6 March.

An army source said that the soldier was also quarantined on 7 March and tested positive on 16 March.

Both of them are currently in isolation at Sonam Nurboo Memorial (SNM) hospital.

The soldier’s entire family, including his two children and all those who have come in contact with him, have been asked to quarantine at the hospital.

Meanwhile, an Indian Army officer and woman are in self-quarantine at a Pune military institute after showing certain virus symptoms.

No COVID-19 tests have been recommended or conducted on the two individuals.

These new cases involving the armed forces have come to light as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across India has risen to 149.

Currently, the Indian military is running two medical facilities at Hindon, Ghaziabad and Manesar, Haryana, to manage Covid-19 cases.

Similar facilities at Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Suratgarh, Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Kolkata are currently being prepared to handle more civilians set to arrive in India amid coronavirus scare.

The Indian Army has postponed all of its courses and even cancelled ‘non-essential training, conferences and movement’.

The Indian Government has yesterday issued an additional travel advisory banning travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia to the country until 31 March and subsequent review.

12:13 pm

US DoD halts troops travel to curb Covid-19 coronavirus

The US Department of Defence (DoD) has ordered personnel and their families to halt all travel to countries affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus starting today.

The DoD said it decided to ‘safeguard the health and safety of military and civilian personnel and their families.’

Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced the measures yesterday in a memo entitled: “Travel restriction for DoD components in response to coronavirus disease 2019.”

Esper said: “The department is committed to doing our part in the administration’s comprehensive fight against the coronavirus by enhancing the safety of our personnel, helping them stay healthy, and making sure they’re able to continue executing the mission.”

Beginning today, all DoD civilian and military personnel and their families should not travel to, from, or through areas affected by the virus for the next 60 days. These restrictions include official travel, change of station, temporary duty, and government-funded leave.

The DoD also asks that personnel planning travel should not go through areas affected by the virus. The countries designated by the DoD to avoid are Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

The memo issued by Esper also calls on its components to examine all travel and only approve it when it is seen as ‘mission-essential’.

Esper said: “Our combat commanders, service secretaries and the chief management officer are authorised to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Our commanders, of course, have the authority to provide direction and guidance to the troops every step of the way.”

Elsewhere several exercises involving US forces have been affected. Defender Europe 20 was originally set to see 20,000 personnel travel from the US to Europe however this is now being modified due to Covid-19 fears.

11:41 am

First US service member in Europe tested coronavirus Covid-19 positive

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A US Navy sailor has been officially confirmed positive with coronavirus Covid-19, making them the first US service member in Europe to contract the virus.

The sailor was stationed at Naval Support Activity Naples in Italy and tested positive on 6 March.

The patient is currently staying at home and is being provided with support and medical care.

As a preventive measure, all other personnel who have come in close contact with him have been asked to put themselves to self-isolation at their residence.

In a statement, US European Command (EUCOM) said: “US European Command and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa are committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force.

“We remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, US embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the wellbeing of our personnel and the local population.”

A thorough contact investigation is being carried out by military health professionals.

EUCOM added: “Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken.”

Moreover, a US Marine assigned to Fort Belvoir in Virginia, US, has also tested positive with Covid -19 and is undergoing treatment at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

The marine had travelled overseas on official business and returned recently.

These two new cases come after one US soldier in South Korea was confirmed positive with the virus late last month.

With these developments and the evolving nature of the outbreak, the US Army has decided to limit travel to and from Italy and South Korea.

It has also prohibited ‘US exercises, exchanges and visits in the most affected nations’, reported Reuters.

Meanwhile, a Nato spokesperson has confirmed that one Nato staff member working at Nato HQ in Brussels has tested positive with Covid-19.

The staff member returned from a holiday in northern Italy and is currently in self-isolation at home.

In a statement, Nato spokesperson said: “Within minutes of receiving the result, all the immediate work colleagues were informed. They had been working from home at the end of last week and continue to do so.

“All Nato headquarters staff have also been informed of the confirmed case. Nato continues to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and to take all necessary measures.”


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