‘No availability’ of Coronavirus Tests for Troops in Afghanistan

U.S. troops in Afghanistan are not being tested for the novel coronavirus, U.S. military officials told the House Armed Services Committee.

There is “no availability of testing for COVID-19” for troops there, a U.S. Central Command representative told the committee in a March 12 statement made available by the committee on Friday.

“Military personnel who believe they are at risk or have flu-like symptoms have immediate access to on-base medical care,” the command official said. “This care includes screening and thorough medical diagnosis. If at any time in the course of medical examination members are suspected or considered high risk with symptoms (a requirement to meet testing protocols per the Center for Disease Control & World Health Organization), the medical community will send samples to appropriate testing facilities at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and/or civilian testing facilities in Munich, Germany, to conduct a COVID-19 test.”

The statement also indicated that “precautionary quarantine or isolation care procedures are in place at each of our Military Medical Treatment Facilities in Afghanistan.”

The committee has asked Defense Department officials similar coronavirus questions about U.S. troops stationed or deployed in or near other risk countries in addition to Afghanistan. The committee is still waiting for replies, an aide said.


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