When You Have to Travel: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

Current as of March 16, 2020


The Department of Defense has halted all domestic and overseas travel for 60 days to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.

But sometimes travel can’t be avoided. When you must travel because it is essential to the mission or personally necessary, the Department of Defense will work with you to keep you and our community healthy and safe.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 during travel

The Department of Defense has taken steps to protect travelers and others from COVID-19 by:

  • Pre-screening service members before travel; only those who are healthy and least at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be allowed to travel
  • Using military and contracted planes for travel to or from overseas locations, when possible
  • Screening all passengers on military flights for signs of illness before they board the plane
  • Screening all service members, family and civilian military employees when they arrive at their duty station after traveling commercially

The screening includes a questionnaire to help determine whether you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Your temperature will be taken and you will be checked visually for signs of illness. There may be additional screenings depending on where you traveled and other risk factors.

Overseas travel

COVID-19 is widespread in China, South Korea, Iran and Europe’s Schengen areas. The Centers for Disease Control has designated these as Level 3 countries. All other overseas regions are considered to be Level 2.

Travelers returning from any overseas location — Level 2 or 3 — will be quarantined for 14 days. If you live in open quarters or have a shared kitchen or bathroom, you will be moved to separate lodging for quarantine.

During those 14 days:

  • Take your temperature twice a day.
  • Keep at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.

What you can do

Everyone has a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. When you are traveling, keep your command updated on your itinerary. If you feel sick, stay home. Notify your leadership and call your doctor

Even if you haven’t traveled and you feel fine, practice social distancing. Keep at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid crowds and wash your hands often.

Our understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Stay up to date by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.