Military forces across Europe have scaled back operations and imposed stricter rules on personnel to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus among staff who often live and work in close quarters, making them more vulnerable to infection.
Preventing the virus’ proliferation among the military is important both for national security and because specialist army, navy and airforce units are being drafted in to help governments tackle the virus in many countries.
Germany mobilised 15,000 soldiers to help local authorities tackle the crisis, for example, while Poland activated thousands of troops to patrol streets under lockdown, disinfect hospitals and support border control, its defence ministry said.
Events aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have highlighted the risk of the disease spreading rapidly among personnel. The nuclear-powered vessel with 5,000 crew is now docked in Guam, a U.S. territory, so everyone can be tested.
The U.S. Navy has relieved the ship’s captain of his command after he wrote a letter flagging concerns about a lack of proper measures to contain the highly infectious disease.