Any applicant who has survived the COVID-19 coronavirus will be barred from enrolling in the US military, unless they can obtain a waiver from the branch they would like to join, according to a tweeted Pentagon memo.
“During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying...” the US Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) memo reads.
Military Times said that they received confirmation on the authenticity of the memo from Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell. The document also includes guidance on how to deal with potential and confirmed COVID-19 cases, beginning with an initial screening at 65 Military Entry Processing (MEPS) stations.
“During the screening process, a reported history of confirmed COVID-19 will be annotated ‘Considered disqualifying’“ pic.twitter.com/ZKx91AUbXo— Free (@Nathaniel_Free) May 4, 2020
If an applicant fails the screening, he or she will not be tested, and will be able to return in 14 days if they are symptom-free and do not have clinical diagnosis. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will have to wait for 28 days, after receiving confirmation, to report to MEPS, according to the directive.
When reported, the diagnosis would be "permanently disqualifying", unless an applicant gets a waiver, although it is not clear how one could be obtained.
The US military does not disclose data on the number of confirmed coronavirus cases among servicemen and women out of security concerns, but reports allege there are over 4,000 US troops to have tested positive for COVID-19, while the US Navy has recorded 1,688 confirmed cases and 8 deaths.