Pentagon updates Covid-19 quarantine rules

Troops were ordered to be honest about their symptoms and avoid workplace for at least five days after testing positive for the virus

The Pentagon will now require that all US troops who have tested positive for Covid-19 and those not vaccinated who had close contact with a Covid-positive person to quarantine for at least five days, according to new guidelines.

“Regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status, DoD personnel who test positive for COVID-19 will remain out of the workplace for 5 calendar days,” the Pentagon declared in its updated guidelines, which were released on Friday, just days after fully-vaccinated and boosted US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tested positive for the virus.

Quarantined personnel “may return to the workplace after 5 calendar days” if they have no symptoms of the virus or if they lack a fever for more than 24 hours and “any remaining symptoms are resolving.”

Upon returning to the workplace, however, recently quarantined personnel will be required to wear a mask for an extra 5 days, “even in circumstances in which mask wearing is not required by any other DoD guidance,” the Pentagon ruled.

The rules will also apply to those not fully vaccinated or boosted who have had a close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

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An exemption to the rules may be granted by senior officers, however, and “vaccination status of the individual should be considered in granting an exception, as more risk will be assumed in granting an exception for an unvaccinated individual,” the Pentagon said.

The new rules will require personnel to be honest about any symptoms they experience and to notify their commanders when symptoms begin. Personnel who experience Covid-19 symptoms at work will be required to put on a mask immediately and go home.

The US military has struggled with several large outbreaks of Covid-19, particularly on US Navy ships. Members of all branches of the US military are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and hundreds of personnel have been discharged in recent months for refusing.

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