Leave and liberty have been cancelled for all U.S. troops serving within the U.S. Central Command theater to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, defense officials confirmed on Thursday.
Politico reporter Lara Seligman first reported about the travel restriction, tweeting a memo from the office of military cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which said all recreational travel within the CENTCOM theater is banned.
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) February 27, 2020
“Example: Personnel assigned to a unit in Riyadh cannot take a pass/leave MWR trip to United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Jeddah for the weekend,” according to the memo.
A CENTCOM spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose that the command had suspended leave and liberty for troops within the area of responsibility. It is not clear how long this suspension will last.
“U.S. Central Command will continue to evaluate the threat to U.S. personnel and will lift the suspension when appropriate,” said Navy Capt. Bill Urban.
Separately, U.S. Pacific Fleet has directed 7th Fleet to have ships that have recently visited countries in the Asia-Pacific region to stay at sea for 14 days before their next port call, a Navy official told Task & Purpose.