Pentagon orders EUCOM not to report military coronavirus cases over security concerns

Pentagon orders EUCOM not to report military coronavirus cases over security concerns
# 31 March 2020 01:28 (UTC +04:00)

The US Pentagon on Sunday ordered that the US European Command (EUCOM) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, stop reporting the number of COVID-19 coronavirus infections within its military community, citing security concerns, APA reports citing Sputnik.

In a statement, the US Army in Stuttgart said it will no longer release the number of coronavirus cases in its community due to a Department of Defense (DoD) directive that cited “operational security” as the reason, according to Stars & Stripes.

“DoD will release numbers through their official platforms,” the Army in Stuttgart said.

In addition, Jason Condrey, the garrison commander in Stuttgart, told his military community that the garrison would no longer be reporting coronavirus cases.

“I can’t do that any longer,” Condrey is quoted as saying by Stars & Stripes, adding that “the virus is likely everywhere.” Since the number of cases has increased in Stuttgart, the military had tried to prevent the virus’s spread by shutting down numerous services and increasing testing through a drive-thru site, Stars & Stripes reported.

According to the outlet, 80 COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday among military members in Stuttgart, where both EUCOM and the US Africa Command headquarters are located. There are at least 125 coronavirus infections within the US military in Germany.

As of March 27, the Pentagon has reported 652 cases of the coronavirus within the DoD. Out of the total number of patients, 343 are active-duty military members, 135 are civilians, 111 are dependents and 63 are contractors, CNBC reported. There have been two deaths within the DoD. Last week, a US Marine became the first service member stationed inside the Pentagon to test positive for COVID-19.

In a March 25 release, the DoD explained that the “Marine is in isolation at his home and will undergo further assessment by health professionals. His last day in the Pentagon was March 13.”

The Pentagon on March 25 also raised the military's health protection level on all DoD installations globally to the second-highest setting, known as “Charlie,” as the number of COVID-19-positive service members continues to increase. Under the Charlie designation, large-scale meetings at some DoD installations will be canceled, people's temperatures will need to be taken before they are allowed into military buildings, and some entrances to buildings will be restricted, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah told reporters.

The latest data from Worldometer reveals that there are more than 764,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and more than 36,000 people have died as a result. In the US, there are more than 152,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 2,800 people have died from the disease.