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US Army holds off on sending new recruits to basic training over coronavirus concerns

03:25  07 april  2020
03:25  07 april  2020 Source:   latimes.com

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The pause does not affect recruits currently in basic training . They will continue under screening and monitoring guidelines established in March, and proceed to their next assignment upon graduation. "The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to [ Basic Combat Training ] for two weeks will allow

U.S. Army places temporary hold on sending new recruits to basic training . The pause does not affect recruits currently in basic training . They will continue under screening and monitoring guidelines established in March, and proceed to their next assignment upon graduation.

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WASHINGTON — The Army will temporarily hold off on sending new recruits to basic training in order to strengthen protective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on those bases, the head of Army Training and Doctrine Command said Monday.

The pause will be in effect for at least two weeks and affects new recruits who would be going to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., and Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla.

“This COVID-19 virus is a new condition in our training environment,” Gen. Paul Funk III, Commanding General of Army Training and Doctrine Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. The pause will allow the Army to refine how it accepts and transports recruits during the pandemic, Funk said.

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a group of people walking in the snow: In this Feb. 3, 2004 file photograph, new recruits march along in front of the new basic training barracks at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Army is temporarily holding off on sending new recruits to basic training. © J.B. FORBES/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS In this Feb. 3, 2004 file photograph, new recruits march along in front of the new basic training barracks at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Army is temporarily holding off on sending new recruits to basic training.

The command had initially put in place policies where recruits would be screened outside the gate with a questionnaire and temperature check before they entered the base. In recent weeks the command has added requirements to contact each recruit multiple times in the days before they ship to ensure they are feeling well and that they have been isolating and social distancing.

“Those who are currently in BCT and Advanced Individual Training will continue training under the screening and monitoring guidelines established last month and will proceed to their next assignments upon graduation,” the Army said in a statement.

“This tactical pause will allow (bases) to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place and are operating effectively at training installations,” the Army said.

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Funk would not specify how many coronavirus cases there were among recruits at each base, but said the numbers were low, and that across the roughly 100,000 personnel in his command, including recruits, trainers and support, there were 102 current cases.

Recruits already going through basic training will continue and be kept on base, he said.

Funk said the decision was based on lessons learned from Army commanders at bases in South Korea and Italy, where, despite an outbreak in communities in those countries, strict lockdown measures have helped keep the numbers of infections low among service members based there.

“We’ve taken their lessons learned from establishing a bubble around their forces, and adjusted them to our particular circumstances,” Funk said.

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HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson remains in recovery © Reuters / TOBY MELVILLE CORONAVIRUS: BORIS JOHNSON STAYS IN CONVALESCENCE LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson continues his recovery in the country residence heads of government in Britain and he is awaiting the green light from his doctors to resume work after recovering from COVID-19, his spokesman said on Tuesday. "He is continuing his recovery at Checkers," the spokesman told reporters.

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