The United States military has banned coronavirus survivors from joining the armed forces over fears that the virus may permanently damage the lungs of young recruits.
Any potential service member with a prior history of Covid-19 will be “permanently disqualified” from military service, the Pentagon has confirmed.
A memo circulating on social media has outlined how staff at processing stations should deal with recruits who present symptoms of the deadly virus.
Applicants will have their temperatures taken and will answer questions if presenting symtoms.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 will have to wait until 28 days after diagnosis before they return – but will be immediately rejected for service.
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“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 memo states.
Recruits can apply for waivers for all permanently disqualifying conditions, but any review authority will have no justification to grant a waiver, reports the Military Times.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Defence confirmed to the publication that the memo was genuine.
So far there has been limited research on the lasting effects of the novel coronavirus but some doctors fear that the disease could cause permanent scarring of the alveoli – or air sacs of the lungs.
Military medical professionals may be worried that the disease could cause lasting respiratory damage and may result in flare-ups and could potentially leave sufferers at risk to contract it again with more aggressive symptoms.
According to the Military Times, all new trainees have been tested for coronavirus before training.
Clusters of the disease have been found in the Army and Marine Corps’ biggest initial entry training installations and in other bases dotted around the country.
The Ministry of Defence has not yet commented on its plans to deal with coronavirus amongst potential new members of the British armed forces.