US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has postponed his India visit scheduled for next week out of “abundance of caution” in wake of coronavirus outbreak, said the Pentagon on March 11. Pentagon Press Secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement that Esper, who was supposed to visit India, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, has decided to remain in the United States to manage the DOD response to COVID-19.
Out of an abundance of caution, Secretary of Defense @EsperDOD has decided to postpone his travel to India, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan until a later date to remain in the U.S. to help manage the @DeptofDefense response to Coronavirus.— Alyssa Farah (@PentagonPresSec) March 10, 2020
US military has been largely unaffected from the deadly virus and the Department of Defense is currently focussed on protecting service members and their families, and continuing crucial missions. DOD spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman, in a press briefing, said that the Department is taking positive action to protect people, safeguard critical national security missions and capabilities and support the whole-of-government approach to confronting the spread of the coronavirus.
Hoffman said that Pentagon has adopted a number of measures to address the potential spread of the virus including social distancing for DOD meetings and briefings, educating the workforce, and reinforcing good hygiene by providing resources within the Pentagon. He added that DOD continues to support the whole-of-government approach outside the Pentagon.
“While DOD will provide housing for persons who have been evacuated from the Grand Princess, HHS is responsible for providing all cleaning, security, and logistics for quarantined persons on DOD installations,” said the spokesperson.
Earlier, the White House informed that US President Donald Trump has not been tested for coronavirus since he neither displayed any symptoms nor he has been in close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients. It added that Trump remains in excellent health, and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.