Wednesday, February 26, 2020

U.S. Military Base Operations In Europe Are Threatened By The Coronavirus

Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, left, the U.S. European Command’s top general, said schools, fitness centers, chapels and other meeting places on U.S. installation at Vincenza, Italy, are closed until Wednesday and there is a 50 percent chance that those areas would remain closed beyond the middle of the week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roll Call: Coronavirus threatens U.S. military base operations in Europe, general says

Top commander in Europe says a ‘fair amount’ of US troops in Italy are staying home to avoid the virus.

The spread of the coronavirus in Europe is affecting operations and services on some U.S. military bases in Italy, and precautions could soon extend to the thousands of personnel stationed in Germany, the general in charge of the military’s activity on that continent told senators on Tuesday.

Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, who leads U.S. European Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a “fair amount” of the military’s 35,000 soldiers in Italy are staying home to avoid the virus. The disease was first detected in China, and the World Health Organization in January said the outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern.”

There are almost 300 confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy, where seven people have died from the illness. The outbreak in Italy, so far, has been most prevalent in the Lombardy region, in the country's northwest. But there are also confirmed cases in Veneto, the northeastern region that is home to the U.S. Army Garrison Italy in the town of Vicenza and close to Aviano Air Force base.

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Update: US Military Braces for Base Lockdowns in Germany as Coronavirus Cases Rise (

WNU Editor: If It looks like US soldiers in Europe are going to be told to stay at home and/or on the base if this outbreak escalates.

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