DOD: Service members transferring overseas must test negative for COVID-19 before flying

Military

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Howell receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Sgt. Anna Carter Dec. 31, 2020, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Howell is the command sergeant major for Maneuver Training Center Fort Pickett, and Carter is a medic assigned to Charlie Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Members of the Virginia National Guard are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the national rollout established by the Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau. Distribution of the vaccine will be in accordance with guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — According to a recent naval administrative message (NAVADMIN), all service members and family members transferring overseas must test negative for COVID-19 before flying.

The move comes as many countries now require negative test results for service members before arrival.

NAVADMIN 03/21 was released Jan. 7, 2021, and it states that those who are executing permanent change of station (PCS) orders to a command outside the continental United States (OCONUS) are required to:

“Possess, and present on request, proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of embarkation for OCONUS travel for each traveling family member.”

An antigen test may be used for testing prior to travel when a molecular test (such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Abbott ID NOW) is not available. However, a molecular test is the preferred test prior to travel. 

However, if the destination requires a specific test, test timing, or test result format, travelers must follow the stricter requirement.

Once tested, service members must have their test results in hand with time left before expiration prior to arrival at the next destination.

In the event a servicemember or family member tests positive for COVID-19 while executing OCONUS travel, they must stop and execute restriction of movement (ROM) procedures.

If a test is positive, sailors should contact the MyNavy Career Center (MNCC), and an agent will take the appropriate next course of action to include contacting the sailor’s detailer and Navy Passenger Transportation Office (NAVPTO). 

It is recommended that sailors communicate with their detailer and the NAVPTO to discuss order modifications and future travel arrangements if needed.

Those who are traveling and have a valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination are currently not exempt from the testing requirement. 

“Vaccinated travelers should only rely on molecular-based tests because they may be at higher risk of a false positive with an antigen test.”

Service members and their families can get free testing at a military treatment facility (MTF), but tests must be scheduled prior to arrival and OCONUS orders are required.

Test results will be delivered within 24 hours after testing. According to the Department of the Navy, testing is the responsibility of the service member, and it’s up to them to determine their individual requirements based upon their destination location by referring to the Foreign Clearance Guide (FCG) and the airline’s policy.

Preferred MTF locations:

(Atlantic)

  • Portsmouth, VA, (757) 953-6200, 24/7 testing available
  • Jacksonville, FL, (994) 250-6188, 24/7 testing available
  • Camp Lejeune, NC, (910) 450-2956, 24/7 testing available
  • Fort Belvoir, VA, COVID Clinic (571) 231-0532, testing 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Fort Belvoir, VA, CDO (571) 585-6066, 24/7 testing available
  • Walter Reed, Central Screening, (571) 335-9985, testing 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Walter Reed, CDO, (301) 547-1161, 24/7 testing available

(Pacific)

  • Camp Pendleton, CA, (760) 685-3537, 27/7 testing available
  • Bremerton, WA, (360) 340-5335, testing 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Madigan Army Hospital. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, (253) 968-4443, testing 6 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To read the full release and other requirements, click here.


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