US Navy: Sailors in Japan Must Track Movements, Contacts to Prevent COVID-19 Risks

US Naval Forces Japan has ordered its sailors to log their daily movements and close encounters with other people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to a memorandum obtained by Stars & Stripes Tuesday, the sailors were also directed to outline all contacts and movements they had made 14 days prior to the memo’s release.

“In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, one of the important actions taken by medical professionals is to conduct contact tracing. This information is vitally important to understand whether other personnel need to be placed in quarantine,” Naval Forces Japan commander Adm. Brian Fort wrote in the memo. 

“Everyone must recognize the incredible importance of the personal accountability role they individually play in defeating the virus. Policies, procedures and protocols can abound, but all of that is naught without individual accountability,” Ford wrote.

Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone else for a significant amount of time or having direct contact with someone, such as being sneezed or coughed on, Stars & Stripes reported.

In addition, sailors are urged to maintain “no more than 10 close contacts to include family members,” the memo adds.

Noting that sailors would not have to share their daily logs with their commands, Fort wrote in the memo, “This is your personal and private information. It is only intended to be shared with medical professionals if needed for contact-tracing purposes.” 

Sailors who had close contact with people who had tested positive for the virus are being placed under a two-week quarantine, even if they are not exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, US 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley confirmed to Stars & Stripes last month.

As of March 27, at least three active-duty sailors in Japan had tested positive for the coronavirus. In addition, at least 436 sailors across the Navy have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pentagon last Sunday ordered that the US European Command (EUCOM) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, stop reporting the number of COVID-19 infections within its military community, citing security concerns. The Pentagon on March 25 also raised the military's health protection level on all Department of Defense installations globally to the second-highest setting, known as “Charlie.” 

Under the Charlie designation, large-scale meetings at some department installations will be canceled, people's temperatures will need to be taken before they are allowed into military buildings, and some entrances to buildings will be restricted.

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