MWR Closes, Food is Takeout Only as US Bases in Afghanistan Respond to Pandemic

U.S. bases in Afghanistan have closed some facilities and limited gatherings under a public health emergency declared in late March to control the spread of the coronavirus, military officials said Friday.

The emergency order from Gen. Scott Miller also allows commanders to impose quarantine or isolation, close buildings and restrict movement, NATO Resolute Support said in a statement. The order issued March 28 includes service members and others under U.S. and NATO authority.

“Under the (public health emergency), a civilian or contractor who refuses to comply with the rules or follow instructions from medical professionals could be sent home,” NATO Resolute Support spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a statement.

Measures by NATO Resolute Support to limit the spread of the virus resemble those announced in recent weeks at military bases worldwide.

U.S. and NATO dining facilities in Afghanistan are takeout only, with shortened hours for stores and restaurants run by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities, where troops could play video games or call their families, have been closed.

All indoor gyms at U.S. bases are closed, although personnel are encouraged to exercise at outdoor gyms, the Resolute Support statement said.

The U.S.-led mission to advise Afghanistan security forces is continuing using remote means, Resolute Support said.

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