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Army, Navy, Air Force screening recruits for coronavirus

Army, Navy, Air Force screening recruits for coronavirus
© Greg Nash

The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force are all screening recruits for coronavirus amid the global outbreak, the branches confirmed to The Hill on Thursday.

The three branches in the U.S. military have always tested their recruits for a variety of health issues, but they are now screening for coronavirus to prevent its spread among service members. 

The Army started its coronavirus screening on Tuesday, a spokesperson said in a statement. Recruits are asked if they are sick, whether they have come in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus or whether they or someone they live with has traveled to or through China, Korea, Japan, Iran or Italy. If recruits have a temperature under 99.4 degrees and answer negatively to these questions, they reportedly can move forward with training.

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The Navy, meanwhile, said in a statement to The Hill that it began screening for coronavirus in recruits starting in January. No individuals were identified for having potential risk, it added. 

Navy recruits are reportedly tested for a fever or lower respiratory illness and then questioned about overseas travel and potential contact with the virus. Those who traveled to certain regions or had symptoms in the last 14 days would be examined by medical personnel.

And Lt. Col. Allison Kojak, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, told The Hill that recruits already go through a testing process that is “not just because of the coronavirus.” The medical prescreen does include testing that would detect the coronavirus, she added.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, said earlier this week that the military is getting ready for all possible scenarios regarding the coronavirus. 

Several defense officials told CNN that U.S. commanders around the world are worried that military readiness will decrease as countries close borders and stop travel.

— This report was updated at 10:40 a.m.