Top Pentagon officials have warned that the pandemic is showing no signs of letting up, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley estimating that the outbreak will last in the USA for at least the next "three months".
Esper's overseas stop-movement order will likely impact some 90,000 service members slated to deploy or return to their home stations during the next 60 days, Pentagon officials said.
The statement says the order is not expected to impact the drawdown of United States forces from Afghanistan, which is proceeding based on a peace deal with the Taliban.
"Our curve is not flattening".
Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, told reporters Wednesday that he expected military-related cases of the virus to continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
Also on Thursday, acting Secretary of the U.S. Navy Thomas Modly announced that all 5,000 sailors aboard aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt will be tested for COVID-19, after eight sailors aboard the ship initially tested positive.
As of Thursday morning (March 26), the Pentagon had reported 415 COVID-19 cases, including 227 soldiers, 81 civilian employees, 67 dependents, and 40 contractors. One person, a defense contractor, died of the disease Saturday.
Esper said one exception to the order would be the drawdown under way in Afghanistan, which will continue. "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 news site said the freeze-in-place order will affect 90,000 expected scheduled deployments, including both troops scheduled to return home and troops poised to deploy overseas.
'His workspace has been cleaned by a Pentagon response team and a thorough contact investigation is underway to mitigate risk and preserve the health of our Marines, civilians, and families, ' said Captain Butterfield. The drawndown of troops from Afghanistan will not be affected by a 60-day freeze on USA military personnel deployments that has just been announced. "This is a significant infectious disease outbreak, and it is going to be weeks, not days".