Military personnel, families now may travel to more than half of US military installations worldwide
Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.
WASHINGTON — More than half of U.S. military installations worldwide have lifted travel restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Pentagon.
As of Monday, 117 of 231 installations, or about 51%, have lifted travel restrictions, meaning they have met specific criteria including the base’s health protection condition is below “Charlie” and essential services are available, according to the Pentagon document posted Wednesday.
Travel restrictions were put into place in March to try to prevent the spread of the virus within the Defense Department. Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memorandum May 22 that laid out the conditions needed for locations to allow for travel to and from bases. The restrictions have impacted the military moves of service members and their families during the past several months, causing backlogs during the busiest moving season for the military.
The Air Force, which has the most installations on the list at 79, has only 22 installations that still have travel restrictions in place. The Army has 68 installations on the list and 42 still have restrictions. The Navy has a similar situation, with 63 installations on the list and 43 that still have restrictions. The Marine Corps has 17 installations on the list and only four still have travel restrictions.
The Pentagon on Wednesday also posted the latest numbers of the coronavirus among the military population. The military has had 43,851 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday morning, an increase of 1,892 cases during the past seven days.
The Army has had the most cases by far among the military services at 16,010, an increase of 818 cases since last week, according to the Pentagon’s data. The Navy has had 9,950 cases, an increase of 319 cases since last Wednesday, and the Marine Corps has had 5,476, an increase of 237 during the past week.
As of Wednesday, the Air Force has had 6,882 cases, an increase of 280 case from last week. The National Guard has had 5,187 cases, an increase of 230 cases during the past week.