Pentagon, two naval bases are the latest to lift travel restrictions
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WASHINGTON — Two naval bases and the Pentagon, the home of the Defense Department and the world’s largest office building, have lifted travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pentagon, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, Ind., and the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., raise the number of major installations with lifted travel restrictions to 73 out of 231 major military installations, or 32% of installations, according to a Pentagon document published Wednesday. The update was an increase of three installations from the list issued last week.
The three installations had to meet criteria in order to have the travel restrictions lifted, including no local stay-at-home orders, a local decrease in cases, and availability of essential services, according to the Pentagon document.
The list includes installations in the United States and host nations, with the Air Force still having the most installations that have lifted travel restrictions at 35 as of Wednesday. The Army has 14 installations, the Navy has 15 and the Marine Corps has eight with lifted restrictions. Eleven of the 73 installations are in countries that host American service members on bases, including South Korea and Japan.
The small update comes as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in the United States. As of Thursday, the United States has had more than 3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 132,000 Americans have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The cases in the military have also continued to rise. Last week, Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the Defense Department is seeing increases in military cases in locations where there has been a rise in civilian cases.
“In Florida, Texas, and Arizona, some parts of California, so that wouldn't be a surprise that we're a part of the community and so where there are some upticks, we’re seeing that as well,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the Pentagon reported 15,445 service members have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Army has the highest number of cases at 4,817, and the Navy has the second highest at 4,373. The National Guard has had 2,261 cases, the Air Force has had 2,189 cases, and the Marine Corps has had 1,600 cases.
Three service members have died since the pandemic began.