Pentagon goes on lockdown and bans all domestic travel for service members nationwide in bid to protect troops from coronavirus
- All official and unofficial visits to the Pentagon are suspended from Sunday
- Sweeping new travel restrictions ban service members from domestic travel
- Ban includes halt to permanent change of station and temporary duty
- Troops will be authorized to take local leave only through May 11
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The Pentagon building has been placed on lockdown and the Department of Defense has suspended nearly all domestic travel for military service members and civilian employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting on Monday, military service members will be barred from domestic travel, including permanent change of station and temporary duty transfers, the DoD announced on Friday.
The travel ban also applies to civilian defense employees and family members assigned to military installations. Service members will be restricted to taking local leave only.
The move highlights the degree to which the U.S. military is concerned, and the lengths it will go to protect the more than a million active-duty troops around the world.
The Pentagon has been placed on lockdown and the Department of Defense has suspended nearly all domestic travel for military service members
The Pentagon said that the chain of command would grant limited exceptions to the travel ban in cases of extraordinary circumstances.
‘Similar to other travel guidance regarding COVID-19, travel exceptions may be granted for compelling cases where the travel is mission-essential, for humanitarian reasons, or warranted due to extreme hardship,’ the DoD said in a statement.
The travel ban will remain in effect through May 11.
Separately, the DoD announced that the Pentagon building would be placed on lockdown starting at midnight on Sunday.
All official and unofficial visits to DoD headquarters are suspended, including international dignitaries and guests of Pentagon staff.
All large gatherings, such as retirement and promotion ceremonies, are ordered to cease.
Anyone who has traveled internationally will be banned from entering the Pentagon for 14 days from the date of their return to the U.S.
Public tours of the Pentagon were already suspended as of Thursday.
The lockdown restrictions will remain in effect indefinitely as the virus crisis unfolds.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the quickly spreading coronavirus on Friday.
The epidemic has infected more than 2,300 in America, and killed at least 50.