The US Defense Department on Saturday said that it would extend travel restrictions through June 30 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but will allow for some redeployments and repatriation of troops serving abroad.
The new order will go into effect on Monday, Matthew Donovan, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told reporters in a telephone briefing.
In a bid to squelch the spread of the coronavirus within the US armed forces, Pentagon chief Mark Esper had ordered in late March a 60-day halt on all travel for civilian and military employees, as well as their family members.
That order was due to expire in May, and so the new measure extends it for a month.
The undersecretary did not specify if the allowance for repatriations would affect soldiers in conflict zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
On Friday, the Pentagon announced a total of 2,986 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, within the US military.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that the state appears to be past the ‘plateau’ on the coronavirus infection curve and is “starting to descend’, as hospitalisations continue to decline and the daily death toll dropped under 550 for the first time in almost two weeks.
The global death toll from the coronavirus has now crossed over 1,60,000 people, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
At least 160,717 people have died from COVID-19 and more than 2.3 million cases have been confirmed worldwide.
China has classified coronavirus epicentre Wuhan as a low-risk area, days after it revised the city’s death toll by 50 per cent, even as 16 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country, according to the health officials on Sunday.