The United States Defense Department personnel head Matthew Donovan on May 21 reportedly announced that the military would no longer bar people who had been hospitalised with coronavirus from serving in its ranks. While speaking to an international media outlet, Donovan said that he had ‘rescinded’ rules on the matter, which the military had put in place in early May out of concern over long-term respiratory damage from the disease.
Donovan said that there was some interim and draft guidance that he rescinded. He further noted that the revision was just one part of a larger update and that health professionals would be looking into further recommendations. Further, he, however, also added that if a new recruit has not yet fully recovered from the deadly virus or is still suffering from the side effects, he or she may not be able to join the forces immediately.
Each branch of the US military is able to issue waivers concerning the matter. As per reports, the US arm forces have suffered a total of 5,888 COVID-19 cases, out of which 129 had to be hospitalised. The deadly virus has also claimed two lives in the military.
In a bid to contain the deadly virus from spreading, earlier, Pentagon had also announced sweeping domestic travel restrictions on US troops and their families. The restrictions not only halted all domestic travel including Permanent Change of Station and Temporary Duty, but it also paused civilian hiring at DoD installations. According to the memo signed by Norquist, an exception was, however, granted for compelling reasons where the travel was determined to be mission-essential, necessary of humanitarian reasons, or warranted due to extreme hardship.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump last week said that his administration is mobilising the Army so that the country can distribute COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, possibly ‘at the end of the year’. Trump said he is mobilising the military to disburse coronavirus vaccine when they are ready. Based on the assumption that the vaccine will be ready by the end of this year, Trump said, "We are starting to mobilise the military to get a head start."
Trump had reportedly also announced that he would place Army Gen. Gustave Perna as COO for 'Operation Warp Speed', an effort to speed up the vaccine development program in the United States and deliver it to as many American citizens as soon as possible, once they are ready.